Pomerene Hospital Blog
Poison Ivy 101
Poison Ivy is an irritating problem during the spring and early summer. The itchy rash that develops is caused from an oily resin called Urushiol (U-Roo-She-ol). This resin is on all parts of the plants so it is best to avoid them if possible. If not able to avoid poison ivy and you develop the red, itchy, blistery rash remember it will last 2-3 weeks before it is totally gone. It does not spread once you have it. The reason you notice new spots it that these areas may have only received a small amount of resin. The reaction can take from 12-48 hours to show up.
If exposed to the plants, here are some tips you can use to your advantage:
- It is best to wash within 30 minutes with lukewarm, soapy water.
- Remember to wash all tools and clothes also, as the resin stays on these things and can last for up to a year re-infecting your skin when touched.
- Home treatments include calamine lotion, cool baths/showers, and antihistamines like Benadryl or Zyrtec.
- If the reaction is widespread or affecting eyes, mouth or genitals, you have difficulty breathing or skin swelling please see your doctor!
- Thick drainage or a fever over 100 degrees is another reason to see the doctor. Your doctor MAY give you prednisone or an antibiotic depending on how bad the rash is.
- Remember that most poison ivy can be treated at home and will resolve on its own.
- The last advice on Poison Ivy is DON'T SCRATCH!
Ticks can be both annoying and a serious problem of summer. The important thing when dealing with ticks is to make sure they are removed as soon as possible. Removal is accomplished by grasping them close to the skin and pulling straight out gently. Do not twist as this often breaks them off leaving the head embedded. Once removed clean area thoroughly and apply antibiotic ointment.
The longer a tick is embedded the more risk for infections or diseases. Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Tularemia are all potential problems caused by ticks in this area. Diagnosis of these illnesses can be difficult to determine. If you are able to remove the tick whole, keep it in a sealed jar or taped to a piece of paper to show your physician. Identifying the tick helps in planning care after being bitten. Check with your doctor if you develop flu-like symptoms (headache, fever, joint pain, aching muscles, or fatigue) or rashes up to 30 days after a tick bite. If these symptoms occur your doctor may begin antibiotic treatment and further testing for tick-borne diseases.
I hope this helps everyone have a safe and enjoyable summer!
Blog written by: Candy Yoder, CNP, Pomerene Express Care