Poison Ivy Facts

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Poison ivy contains one of the most allergic oils known to man. Only a very small minority of people will not suffer an allergic reaction after coming in contact with the plants urushiol oil. Even a small trace amount of exposure on the skin can cause severe poison ivy symptoms in some people. Often the urushiol oil in poison ivy gets on a persons hands and is unknowingly spread when they touch other parts of their body before they have washed the oil off their hands.

Contact with the plant does not necessarily have to be direct but you may suffer from secondary exposure. Touching another object that may have come in contact poison ivy can be enough to cause a allergic reaction. This may be responsible for the myth that many believe that the symptoms are contagious which it is not. The secondary exposure can be caused from a small amount of urushiol oil being on a object. So for example if you were playing baseball and a friend retrieved a foul ball from the brush and then throws it to you it may be possible for you to suffer poison ivy symptoms if the ball happened to roll over or come in contact with the plant and become contaminated with even a small amount of its oil.

Poison Ivy Symptoms
After coming in contact with poison ivy there may not be a immediate reaction or only a small amount of redness with minor swelling which may be barely noticed. Unfortunately for many they soon break out in blisters and the area becomes very itchy with a contact dermatitis reaction. Often the skin is broken which will allow bacteria to enter causing other infections and leading to fever. Of course resisting the temptation to itch is not easy and if the skin is broken you may be better off to cover up the area to prevent infections. The area may also become dry with scales. Normally symptoms will disappear after a few weeks on their own.

If you suffer a severe reaction or prolonged symptoms its important to see a doctor for treatment and accurate diagnosis of your symptoms.