Summer Health Risks: Poison Oak, Sumac, & Ivy

When it comes to staying healthy in the summer, many people focus on things like sun damage, insect bites, and dehydration as the primary risks to their health and wellness. But when outdoor summer fun is on the mind, few remember to consider the risk of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac to their health. Within as little as 12 hours of contact, these plants can cause an itchy, red, and peeling rash that can last for weeks. When it comes to these plants, it’s not the leaves themselves that can cause you to itch for days, it’s an oil coating the leaves called Urushiol. Though rarely leading to serious or life-threatening sickness, contact with these plants can cause severe allergic reaction which is characterized by the following symptoms and more:

  • Severe swelling and redness
  • Fever
  • Blisters and crusting skin
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Please seek immediate medical care if you experience any of these symptoms.
Without treatment, mild rashes typically clear within 14-20 days. Until then, the following tips can provide instant relief for your pain and discomfort:

  • Soak in an oatmeal or milk bath
  • Apply anti-itch creams, lotions, or gels to the affected area
  • Apply a cool compress to the affected area
  • Apply OTC itch creams or a prescription steroid cream to treat the affected and surrounding area

Here at Danbury we’re committed to providing fast and affordable care to patients of all ages in our local community. Stop by for urgent care for rashes and other forms of skin irritation with no appointment necessary. We also accept most insurances and offer low rates for uninsured patients. For more information, visit us at either of our convenient locations at 2 Main Street or 100 Mill Plain Road in Danbury, CT.