The itchy rash from poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac is caused by oil found in these plants. Typically the reaction doesn’t start until 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the plant’s oil.
In most people the reaction goes away within a couple of weeks. But if the reaction is serious, such as large swelling of the face or swelling that closes the eyes, a doctor should be seen right away.
If you’ve been in contact with poison ivy, wash your clothes and anything that might have touched the plant. If you have a rash, apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion, and keep your skin cool with cloths or cool showers. Keeping your fingernails clean will help prevent an infection from the scratching.
For more information, visit the American Academy of Dermatology at www.aad.org/skin-conditions