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Poison Ivy Oak and Sumac

Think Prevention!  Teach children what poison ivy/oak/sumac look like and how the plants’ appearance can change during different times of the year.  Make sure they were long sleeved shirts and pants when playing close to these plants.  Wash their hands when they come inside.  Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac is not contagious from one person to another. 

Signs & Symptoms:

  • An itchy or burning rash within 2-3 days of exposure as small red bumps that usually blister.
  • Blisters can be different in size and may ooze clear fluid.
  • The bumps and blisters may look liked straight lines or streaks on the child’s skin.
  • The rash may begin to look crusty as it heals. 

What to do:

  • Wash skin and scrub under fingernails immediately with soap and water.
  • For itching: add oatmeal to the bath; use hydrocortisone lotion (avoid using on the face, especially near the eyes, or on the genitals); if needed, give the child an oral antihistamine such as Benadryl or loratadine (Claritin).
  • Cut fingernails short to keep the child form breaking the skin when scratching.
  • Place cool compresses on child’s skin as needed.
  • Wash all clothing that the child has recently worn.
  • Change and wash bed linens if slept on without showering. 

Call the Doctor or Seek Medical Attention If:

  • The rash covers a large portion of the body, or is on the face or genitals.
  • The rash is getting worse despite home treatment.
  • The skin looks infected (increasing redness, warmth, pain, swelling, or pus). 

Seek Emergency Medical Care If the Child:

  • Has a known severe allergy to poison ivy/oak/sumac.
  • Develops swelling of the tongue, throat, or around the nose or mouth.
  • Complains of chest tightness or difficulty breathing.
  • Sounds hoarse or is having trouble speaking.
  • Develops widespread redness or swelling.
  • Becomes dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Was given a shot of epinephrine (EpiPen). 


Poison Control 1-800-222-1222

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