Poison Ivy Treatment in Montgomery, AL
Poison ivy is a plant that typically grows as a vine or shrub and is found all over North America (except for desert regions, Alaska and Hawaii), the West Indies and China. It thrives in both urban and country environments, growing in open fields, wooded areas, riverbanks, parks and backyards. Unfortunately, poison ivy is often difficult to identify as it resembles many other types of plants. This confusion leads to millions of poison ivy rashes each year.
A poison ivy rash is a type of allergic contact dermatitis caused by urushiol. Urushiol is an oily resin found on the leaves, stems and roots of poison ivy plants as well as on poison oak and poison sumac. As much as 85% of the population has a sensitivity to urushiol, with some developing reactions only after several exposures to the plant.
Symptoms of Poison Ivy Exposure
Signs and symptoms of a poison ivy rash typically develop within 12-72 hours after exposure and can last for 2-3 weeks. These symptoms include:
- Small or large blisters
The severity of the rash depends on the exposure level your skin has with urushiol and your sensitivity level to the urushiol resin itself. If urushiol oil is on your fingers, you can transfer the oil to other parts of your body through touch. Urushiol is also transferred to clothing and pet fur, and if contact is made with either, rashes can be larger and more widespread. However, your skin must come into contact with the oil for it to be affected; rashes do not spread from blisters.
Poison Ivy Treatment
If you believe you have made contact with a poison ivy plant, the first step is to thoroughly wash the affected area(s) with soap and water to remove any oily resin and prevent further spreading. Be sure to clean any clothing or other material that may have made contact as well.
If a rash develops, there are several at-home remedies to alleviate the discomfort:
- Apply over-the-counter corticosteroid cream or calamine lotion to help reduce itching and redness.
- Apply a cool compress to skin, especially if there is swelling in affected areas, for 10-20 minutes several times a day.
- Soak in an oatmeal bath for 30 minutes. The best way to do this is to grind oatmeal into a powder so it better distributes through the water. You can also buy colloidal oatmeal (ground oatmeal) from most drug and grocery stores.
In cases affecting larger areas, the face or genitals, your health care provider may recommend a prescription steroid or antibiotic to help in the healing process. If you are experiencing a serious allergic reaction causing difficult breathing and swallowing or severe swelling, seek immediate medical attention.
Request more information about poison ivy treatment today. Call (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
Alabama Functional Medicine
Address7040 Sydney Curve
Montgomery, AL 36117
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