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Poison Ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak are plants that can cause a type of skin irritation called allergic contact dermatitits.

What causes the rash?
These plants contain an oily resin known as urushiol that may penetrate the skin and cause a rash. The rash may develop after direct contact with the oil from the plants, or by indirect contact through clothes, gardening tools, sports equipment, and even touching your pet’s fur.
What are the symptoms of the rash?
Within 12-72 hours after exposure to the poisonous plants, you may develop redness, itching, swelling, and fluid filled blisters. Often times, the rash will appear in red streaks because of the way the plant brushes against the skin.
Some people may develop more serious reactions to urushiol, including severe swelling of the face, mouth, neck, genitals, or eyelids. Large, widespread and oozing blisters may also develop.
The rash that develops after exposure is not contagious, and you can not spread the rash after it appears. The fluid within the blisters does not contain urushiol and will not spread the rash.
How can the rash be treated?
If an allergic reaction develops, immediately wash the skin with lukewarm water and soap. Thoroughly wash all clothing or other objects that may have been contaminated.
For mild cases of allergic contact dermatitis, cool compresses, antihistamines, and over-the-counter creams such as calamine lotion may help to relieve the itching.
If a more moderate to severe reaction occurs, you may need to see a physician. He or she may be able to prescribe prescription corticosteroid creams, ointments, gels, or shots to help alleviate the rash. In some cases, oral corticosteroids such as prednisone also may be necessary.
How can I prevent the rash in the future?
Learning how to recognize and avoid these poisonous plants is the first step to prevention. Poison ivy and poison oak have three leaflets to a stem, so the saying “leaves of three, let them be” can be helpful in identifying these plants.
When it is not possible to avoid these plants, wearing long pants, long sleeve shirts, boots, and gloves may help to decrease the chance of exposure. Over-the-counter creams that contain bentoquantam may be applied to the skin before going outdoors. Bentoquantam serves as a barrier cream that can prevent the urushiol oil from penetrating the skin.

Posted on behalf of Kayal Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists

141 Lacy Street, Suite 200
Marietta, GA 30060

Phone: (770) 426-7177

FAX: (770) 426-7745


Mon-Fri: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

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Based on 183 reviews

Jennifer M.

First time ever at a dermatology office! So I was a little nervous... But they have a very friendly staff and it was nice meeting PA Joel! Felt comfortable and he was informative & made me feel like I wasn’t the only person dealing with my issue. I can’t wait to see some results and get some relief!!

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Love this place! Everyone is so caring, and very helpful in each way possible. Highly recommend this place for skin care and even skin cancer!

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I’ve been going here awhile. I’ve got a few pesky issues, some due to my not allowing areas to completely heal, sins that prolongs my already glacier like speed healing! I really appreciate Dr. Kayal and Joel who combine to take of me and my family.

Michael V.

Was greeted upon my arrival, very nice waiting room, was taken back immediately. Very professional, caring and friendly staff. They want to help you. The PA Joel was very knowledgeable and knew exactly how to help me. I was given a prescription to address the problem. Will be back with other issues, keep up the good work.

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PA Brown is very attentive to my son's needs. I have not had any difficulty getting appointments when needed. I think this practice provides excellent service. I definitely recommend Kayal Dermatology for all of your skin needs.

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The nurse was great made me completely comfortable before biopsy’s and Dr Kayak was great explaining what’s going on, recommend very highly

Kayal Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists

141 Lacy Street, Suite 200
Marietta, GA 30060

Phone: (770) 426-7177

Fax: (770) 426-7745


Mon-Fri: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm