Watch Out For Poison Ivy Patches as Spring Arrives

By Boulevard Dermatology
March 31, 2017
Category: Skin Care
Tags: rashes   Poison Ivy  

Spring is in the air, and with it comes warmer weather, sunshine and the chance to get outdoors more often. However, while getting out rashinto the great outdoors has many benefits for the mind and body, you should watch out for and be able to recognize and avoid the poisonous plants that live there. Learn more about poison ivy and what it can do to your skin with your dermatologist Dr. Deirdre Wood at Boulevard Dermatology in Philadelphia, PA.

What is poison ivy?
Poison ivy is a naturally occurring plant which causes an itchy, annoying rash upon coming into contact with your skin. Though it is not contagious, poison ivy rashes last anywhere from one to three weeks and often go away on their own. An oily substance called urushiol found on the leaves, stems, roots, and flowers of the plant causes the rash and may still cause a reaction if the plant is no longer alive. Symptoms of poison ivy include:

  • skin redness
  • skin swelling
  • blistering of the skin
  • itchiness

The rash will appear bumpy and can range from mild to severe in nature. The rash does not spread, though individuals who have come into contact with the plant’s oil can spread it from one part of the body to another. For example, if you touch the plant with your hand and touch your neck, both areas will develop the rash.

Identifying and Avoiding Poison Ivy In the Wild
A poison ivy plant itself is easily identifiable by its leaves. They usually grow in leaf clusters of three and have pointy tips. The plant and leaves are usually green and can turn reddish to orange in the fall. The plant grows as a vine or a shrub depending on the species. The plant may produce clusters of white berries which last from spring to winter.

Poison Ivy Treatments in Philadelphia, PA 
If you realize you have been exposed to poison ivy, wash the area with warm water and rubbing alcohol as soon as possible. At-home anti-itch topical treatments are often enough to cure poison ivy in a few weeks. However, some cases will require help from your dermatologist. Your doctor may also recommend antibiotics, prescription steroid cream or oral corticosteroids.

For more information on poison ivy, please contact Dr. Wood at Boulevard Dermatology in Philadelphia, PA. Call (267) 731-1333 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Wood today!