Eskenazi Health pediatrician
With outdoor activities taking place everywhere, it’s important to be aware of poison ivy and the discomfort and irritation it can cause.
Poison ivy, a year-round threat that is common in central Indiana, can be treated at home by washing with soap and water, though severe cases may necessitate a visit to the doctor.
Symptoms include itching, redness, swelling and blisters. Blisters can appear in a straight line or be widespread depending on how you come in contact with the plant. Symptoms can last up to two to three weeks.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, poison ivy is contracted through direct contact with the plant and the oily sticky substance that is located in the plants leaves, stem and roots. This substance has the ability to stick to skin, clothing, pet fur and many other objects that come in contact with it.
Once an object has come in contact with poison ivy, it can be contagious for up to two to three weeks. Though the rash itself is not contagious, if a person still has the urushiol substance on their rash or skin, then the poison could be spread.
Being able to identify the plant is important in reducing the likelihood of coming into contact with its poison. Poison ivy is a three-leaf weed that grows as vines, a free-standing plant or a shrubby thicket reaching 5 to 10 feet in height. While it is the most common poisonous plant in Indiana, other dangerous plants include poison oak and poison sumac.
Although data shows that around 15 to 30 percent of people have no allergic reaction to the plant, the most important thing to do as soon as you believe you have come into contact with it is to wash the affected area. This can greatly reduce or eliminate the potential outbreak.
If you are in need of a pediatrician for your child or a primary care physician for yourself, call 317-880-8687 or visit www.eskenazihealth.edu/doctors.