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Sting, Skin

Poison Ivy Allergy: What You Need to Know

Prevention: The key step is to avoid poison ivy/oak whenever possible. Repeated exposures can lead to more severe dermatitis. If going for a nice walk in the woods, cover up: wear long sleeves, pants and sneakers not sandals.

Treatment: If you think you’ve come in contact with poison ivy or oak, wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol treated wipes if still in the woods. (This may diminish symptoms, though you’ll likely have some reaction, as the resin gets into the skin.)

Once you start feeling the itch, calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can help. A cool water compress may also bring relief. If you’re prone to more serious rashes and blistering, dermatologist Dr. Sandy Skotnicki says to see your doctor for a prescription-strength hydrocortisone cream.

If you feel nauseated or short of breath after poison ivy exposure, head to the hospital.

Did you know? The same urushiol resin is also found on mango skins. If you’re susceptible to poison ivy outbreaks, you may also get a rash from mangoes. Peeled mango, however, should not be a problem for those who have contact dermatitis.



Allergic Living acknowledges the assistance of the OMDC Magazine Fund, an initative of the Ontario Media Development Cooperation.