Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are plants that can cause a skin rash upon contact. The red, itchy rash often shows up in lines or streaks and may cause fluid-filled blisters or large, raised hives.
The rash is caused by an allergic reaction to an oil in poison ivy, oak, and sumac. The rash may occur when your child touches the plant or clothing, pet fur, sporting gear, gardening tools, or other objects that have come in contact with one of these plants.
Your child cannot catch or spread the rash, even if he or she touches it or the blister fluid, because the plant oil will already have been absorbed or washed off the skin. The rash may seem to be spreading, but either it is still developing from earlier contact or your child has touched something that still has the plant oil on it.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
If you know your child may be exposed to poison ivy, oak, or sumac when playing outdoors, learn to identify these plants and teach your child to avoid them.
If contact with the plants can't be avoided or is likely:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: April 17, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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