Always bear in mind that poison sumac is one of the plants along with poison oak and ivy that can trigger a rash among highly sensitive individuals. Poison sumac releases urushiol which is the oil present in the leaves, stems and fruits once they are damaged. With this in mind, it is vital that you know how to distinguish the plant when outdoors.
Some individuals do not have any reaction once subjected to urushiol but many are hypersensitive to it once exposed. If not treated, the rash will typically subside within several weeks. It is best to consult a doctor if the rash starts to spread to the mouth, eyes or genitals. Such cases would require further assessment by a doctor as well as proper treatment. In case the rashes caused by exposure to poison sumac are severe, it is best to have it checked by a doctor for proper assessment and treatment.
Cleansing the exposed skin to poison sumac
An initial measure that the individual should perform is to wash the whole body using water and soap within 10-15 minutes after contact with poison sumac in order to prevent the rash by eliminating the urushiol from the body. Clothing, shoes, tools and other items that came into contact with the plant must be cleaned using water and alcohol to prevent repeated contact with the skin. If urushiol is left on these items, it can cause an allergic reaction even after several years once the individual touches them again.
Provide soothing effect on affected skin
In case rash and blisters develop, the individual must avoid scratching the affected skin since bacteria can enter the broken skin that can lead to the development of infection. The ideal way to sooth the itchiness and minimize the swelling is to place a cool compress over the affected area or instruct the individual to immerse in a cool bath a number of times throughout the day.
You can add oatmeal or baking soda to the water for a better soothing effect. You can also utilize aluminum acetate solution that can be applied over the blistered areas at 2-3 times in a day for 20 minutes. You can register for a course on first aid today so that you can learn more about treatment options that are effective in managing the rashes caused by exposure to poison sumac.
Medications for poison sumac rash
There are over-the-counter medications that can help manage the itchiness and swelling. Corticosteroid creams or calamine lotion can be applied on the skin. An antihistamine such as diphenhydramine can be given orally to relieve the itchiness and help the individual sleep. In some cases, zinc oxide can be applied on the skin for protection and to dry out the blisters. Prescription medications including antibiotics and corticosteroids are given for widespread rashes might be required if the home remedies could not provide relief.