Allergies from poison ivy affect up to 50 million people every year – data for the US alone! One of the reasons why the figure is so high is that most people do not know what poison ivy looks like. Also, this actually resembles other garden plants and grows among them, making it look as harmless as the others.
Poison Ivy Allergy
- Urushiol is the chemical on the leaves of the poison ivy plant that triggers the allergic reaction.
- Poison ivy is not really deadly unless the patient is extremely allergic to it. However, it is very potent so that even 1 billionth of a gram of the urushiol can cause the allergic reaction.
- In most cases, the allergic reaction will show up within minutes or hours after exposure to the poison ivy. Still, there are times when it could take up to several days or even weeks for the reaction to manifest itself.
Poison Ivy Allergy Symptoms
Symptoms of allergies due to poison ivy include:
- Swelling on some parts or many parts of the body.
- Itching. Again, this can affect just some portions or a lot of areas in the body. The itch may even be so widespread that some patients have difficulty dealing with the itch.
- Redness on affected areas.
- Sometimes, blisters could form on the affected areas of the skin.
- Some patients experience fever.
Still, these symptoms are often localized to where the skin touched the poison ivy.
Poison Ivy Allergy Prevention
- Actually, the best thing to do to prevent allergies from poison ivy is to avoid this plant. Easier said than done. Still, learning to identify how the plant looks like can help a person avoid getting in contact with it.
- When going hiking or to places where vegetation is thick, it is best to use long sleeved shirts and long pants. It might be uncomfortable but this getup will help prevent contact with poison ivy.
- As soon as the patient comes in contact with the poison ivy or coming home from hiking, immediately take a bath with cool water.
Poison Ivy Allergy Treatment
Possible treatments for this kind of allergy include:
- Applying cold compress on the affected areas
- Taking oatmeal baths
- Washing the area with soap and water
- Aloe vera sap may also be rubbed on the affected area to ease the pain and reduce the swelling and blisters
- Applying meat tenderizer on the affected area