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Skin Care and Diseases

Poison ivy

06/04/2007

Question:

I would have like more information about poison ivy, such as is it contagious,can it spread to other parts of the body, can it spread to other people, is there something I could do to end the sores more rapidly, or the continuation or the appearance of more blisters.

Can the oil pass through clothing? What`s the safest way to remove poison ivy from the garden?

Answer:

Poison ivy is not contagious. Often the rash starts 24-72 hours after exposure, but may at times show up as late as 5-7 days later in some areas. This can explain why the rash may start in the area of greatest exposure (higher concentration of the oil) and several days later on other parts of the body.

The oil,if still on your skin or clothes, can be spread to others and if they are sensitive to poison ivy, they may get the rash. Washing the clothes or your pets that might carry it on their fur should be enough to get rid of it.

Topical steroids, Cortaid creams or prescription steroids, are helpful for local rashes. If the rash is severe, oral steroids may be needed from your physician.

I’m not sure of the best way to remove it but weed killer, wearing gloves and long sleeves, or hiring a lawn agency are some methods to remove it from your yard.

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Response by:

Pranav   Sheth, MD Pranav Sheth, MD
Formerly:
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati