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Common Poison Rashes: Poison Ivy vs Poison Oak vs Poison Sumac

Hiking through the woods or running along a field are fun pastimes many people enjoy, especially during the summer.

But if you develop a poison rash, you may begin to regret your outdoor adventures.

Don’t let a poison rash keep you from making outdoor plans!

Here are three common poisonous plants to look out for.

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is a small plant with three leaves that can have smooth or slightly indented edges. The leaves are also generally shiny and have small hairs.

The rash is caused by contact with the oil from the leaves of this plant. You don’t have to touch the leaves directly. If the oil transfers to clothing or garden equipment and you touch these—it could result in a poison ivy rash.

Poison Oak

There are different types of poison oak from shrubs to climbing vines. The leaves are often grouped in threes like poison ivy but are similar to small oak leaves.

Rashes are caused when skin comes into contact with the oil produced when poison oaks leaves, stems, or roots are broken. The rash can sometimes form on areas that did not come into contact with the plant’s oil.

Poison Sumac

Poison sumac is a shrub or small tree that has a long stem with 13 leaves arranged in pairs. It grows in wooded areas and swamps. It can be distinguished from harmless sumac because of its clusters of low-hanging green berries.

All parts of the plant are poisonous and the oil can still cause allergic reactions after the plant dies.

Causes and Symptoms of Poison Rash

Each of these plants contain the chemical urushiol that results in the same allergic reaction in humans.

Skin that comes in contact with the chemical will become red and itchy, often turning into streaks of bumps and blisters. The site may become swollen.

The rash will usually go away on its own in 3-4 weeks. You can also use aloe vera or anti-itch creams to alleviate some of the uncomfortable itchiness.

Most rashes won’t require medical attention, but take a trip to the hospital if the rash is large, swelling, on your face or genitals, or causing shortness of breath. If you’re in the Gonzales, Louisiana area and think you need professional medical help, give us a visit!

Preventing Poison Rashes

Keep yourself and your loved ones from getting a poison rash by learning what the poisonous plants in your area look like. Remove them from play areas and areas with heavy traffic.

When traveling through areas that may have poisonous plants, wear long pants and long sleeves.

You can help prevent the allergic reaction by immediately washing your skin and clothing with soap and warm water if you think you came into contact with poisonous plants.

Make the Most of Your Summer

Coming into contact with poisonous plants can ruin an outdoor adventure. Stay safe this summer and learn how to identify poisonous plants in your area. Don’t let the possibility of a poison rash keep you from hiking through the woods!

Stay safe this summer and contact us if you need to schedule an appointment!