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Allergic Contact Dermatitis Treatments

Treatment

If Exposed:

If you have been exposed to poison ivy, oak, or sumac, wash your entire body immediately. You can reduce your chance of getting a rash if you wash thoroughly with soap and water within 10-15 minutes of exposure. Using alcohol and water, wash all clothes, tools, and shoes that were in contact with the plant. One small study shows that cleaning with the oil-removing compound “Goop” or the poison-ivy prevention substance “Tecnu” is more effective than using soap alone. All three treatments reduced the occurrence of skin rash by more than 50% following contact.

If Rash Develops:

If a rash develops, the itching and blisters will usually disappear in 7-14 days without treatment. Treatment to reduce discomfort includes:

  • Cool compresses with water or whole milk
  • Oral antihistamines
  • Over-the-counter medications:
    • Calamine lotion
    • Zinc oxide or baking soda (to dry oozing blisters)
    • Diluted aluminum acetate solution (Burow's solution)
  • Steroid medications:
    • Cortisone creams—can relieve symptoms and may also shorten the duration of the rash
      • These are available over-the-counter (much weaker) and by prescription.
    • Oral corticosteroids—may be prescribed in severe cases

If you are diagnosed with a rash from poison ivy, oak, or sumac, follow your doctor's instructions .

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2020 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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