An individual who is exposed to poison ivy will develop rashes which are triggered by an allergic reaction to urushiol that is produced by the plant. In most cases, the rashes caused by poison ivy can be severe and the accompanying itchiness does not seem to stop.
Poison oak and poison sumac also produce the same oil which can also trigger a reaction in highly sensitive individuals. In most cases, the rash can be annoying but not serious. Nevertheless, the outcome of an extended rash due to poison ivy can be complicated due to the complications that might arise. If you want to learn more about reactions to poison ivy, all you have to do is to register for first aid training so that you are prepared.
Individuals who have widespread contact dermatitis caused by exposure to poison ivy while outdoors should consult a doctor as soon as possible. In case the rash is severe due to the prolonged exposure to urushiol, the doctor will prescribe steroid treatment to help reduce the symptoms that accompany the rashes.
It is important to note that dermatitis can further complicate the rash caused by urushiol. The severe itchiness and the constant scratching will only expose the skin to bacteria. Some of the bacteria that might enter can trigger severe infections such as staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. In such cases, staph bacteria can enter the open skin and cause an infection which will lead to other health issues that will disrupt the recovery.
In case the mouth, eyes or genitals are involved or a fever higher than 100 degrees F, it simply indicates that systemic involvement has occurred. Take note that the rash will not improve on its own and a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.
The contact dermatitis that is triggered by exposure to urushiol will not spread on its own. An individual can become infected again since contact is made repeatedly with the oil that might be present in pets, clothing, furniture and other items.
It is important to wash all clothing in cool soapy water to eliminate the oil. Pets should be bathed in cool soapy water and thoroughly rinse. As for furniture and other items, you have to use a damp clean cloth to wipe them off thoroughly.
You should also learn how to recognize poison ivy as well as poison sumac and poison oak while outdoors in order to avoid contact with them. In case you have to go through areas where contact with plants cannot be avoided, you have to cover the skin properly and use gloves at all times. Make sure that you will remove protective clothing right away and wash them separately using soapy water.