Poison Ivy


What is it?

Poison Ivy is a plant that grows in many places across the country. It is easily identified by its three leaves and sometimes shiny appearance. The plant contains an oil that many people develop a skin reaction from. This rash usually takes several hours to several days to develop after contact with the oil. The reaction can be incredibly itchy, red, blistered, weeping/oozing and very uncomfortable. It is a common misconception that the fluid from the blisters can cause the spread of the rash. This is not true. The oil from the plant can stay on surfaces like shoes, clothes, bedding, under fingernails, on pets fur and on toys for weeks.


What can I do?

Prevention is the best way to deal with poison ivy. You should teach your children what the plant looks like and to avoid it. Most cases of poison ivy can be treated at home and do not need to be seen in the office. Soaking the rash in cool water and allowing it to air dry or rubbing the rash with an ice cube for 10 min can help reduce the itch. Calamine lotion can be applied four times daily for the itch. Hydrocortisone 1% cream can be used three times daily for the inflammation. Unscented Ban roll on deodorant that is kept in the fridge can also be applied every 2 hours for itching. If the rash is oozing a drying agent such as Ivy Dry or Domboro soaks may be used. If the itching is not tolerable Benadryl may be given every 6-8 hours. Please use dosage chart to find the correct dose for your child. If your child does get poison ivy remember to wash their bedding, clothing and shoes to remove traces of the oil.


When do I call the office?

Please call the office during normal business hours if:

  • Rash develops on face near the eyes or in genital area
  • Your child develops a fever
  • Yellow crusting or drainage from rash
  • Rash continues to spread regardless of home treatment
  • You have any further questions or concerns