Health and Fitness Tips

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Poison Ivy is a notorious plant responsible for causing a host of symptoms in those who are unfortunate to come into contact with not only it, but the oil it produces. Oil left on surfaces can remain active for up to a year. Majority of people, 85% of Americans, are allergic to the oil that this plant produces and it is found in every state in the U.S. besides Alaska or Hawaii. If you are one of those 85%, instead of contemplating a move to Alaska or Hawaii consider these tips to know when your poison ivy rash warrants a trip to an urgent care clinic because home remedies just aren’t doing the trick.


Poison ivy is known for it’s hallmark rash that it causes. Oils bind to the skin causing the body’s immune system to go into overdrive. The result is a red rash that itches and is unpleasant. It can take up to two weeks for the rash to completely heal itself, and during this time itching, oozing and swelling can be present. Over the counter lotions and antihistamines can be used to treat the rash and itching, but it’s important to know when the rash is not getting better and when an visit to your nearest urgent care center is warranted.


Adults can typically refrain from scratching by using other methods such as lotions and cold compresses to relieve the itch. Children on the other hand may not be able to. If it itches on them, chances are they are going to scratch it. Adults are aware of the infections that can come from scratching, but children are not. Adults are typically more careful to keep the area clean and dry but children are not. For this reason it is probably best to take any child, especially smaller ones to an urgent care facility to have their symptoms diagnosed. Depending on the severity of the rash and how large it is and how much of the child’d body it covers medicine may be prescribed. Medicines include steroid lotions to apply to the affected area and oral steroids to help reduce the allergic reaction.


As with any broken skin, the risk of infection grows significantly, especially when it itches like the rash associated with poison ivy. It can be hard to keep it covered, meaning the open wound can attract bacteria. Since redness and swelling is already associated with the rash from poison ivy it can be hard to determine when an open wound is becoming infected. If large parts of the rash are not showing signs of improvement and a large part of your body has open sores from the rash, it is probably best to be seen by your nearest urgent care center. Large areas of open sores are harder to keep clean and cover. Since much of the skin is already broken any infection could spread rather quickly. If you suspect infection or cannot resist the urge to scratch and open blisters, then medical attention should be sought.


Swelling is common with any poison ivy rash but there are signs that it should be addressed immediately. Any swelling that occurs around the neck area or makes it hard to breath needs immediate medical attention. Any swelling that occurs around the face, especially the eyes, should get treated immediately. Any swelling that occurs around the groin area after contact should be treated as well.


Poison ivy plants are dangerous to touch, but they are more dangerous to burn. The smoke contains the oil which in turn causes an allergic reaction inside the lungs. If you inhale smoke from burning poison ivy you should seek medical attention. Even if you think you inhaled some it is better to be checked assessed as soon as possible.

Poison ivy rashes don’t wait for a convenient time to pop up meaning sometimes getting the rash treated isn’t so easy. Doctors offices have certain hours of operation and are closed on weekends, but 85% of urgent care centers are open sever days a week. If you or a loved one encounters the itchy rash and needs to have it addressed urgent care is the best choice.