Alphabetic Guide to Child Care - Poison ivy, oak, and sumac rashes

Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Rashes

Poison ivy and poison oak are two plants readily found across the United States. Poison sumac is found in marshes in the southern and eastern states. Children frequently come in contact with the plants while playing, hiking, or camping. The oils from the surface of the plant brush against the skin and usually, within hours, an itchy painful rash appears on the skin.

If contact with poisonous plants is suspected, the first thing one should do is wash the area of skin thoroughly with soap and water as soon after exposure as possible. Removing the poisonous oils can eliminate or reduce the inflammation. Care should be taken not to spread the oils from the infected skin to other skin. Particular care should be given to not touch or rub your eyes after contact with one of these plants. You should also be cautious of rubbing your eyes after scratching infected or exposed skin.

The rash is an itchy red group of small blisters. Cold water dressings can help reduce the itching. Use clean cotton cloth soaked in a solution of one teaspoon of salt per pint of water. Antihistamine medication can help reduce the itching and rash. If the rash persists, becomes infected, is severe, or covers a large part of the child's body, consult a physician immediately.

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