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Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac

Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Overview

More than half the people in the United States are sensitive to poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. If you are sensitive, you can develop an itchy, blistering rash by coming into contact with these plants.

  • Whether you are working or just enjoying the outdoors, look out for these plants:
    • Poison ivy is generally found east of the Rocky Mountains, growing as vines or shrubs. The leaves can have either smooth or notched edges and are often clustered in groups of three.
    • Poison oak is more commonly found west of the Rockies, usually as a small bush but sometimes as a climbing vine. Its leaves are smooth-edged and cluster in groups of three, five, or seven.
    • Poison sumac is most often found in wet areas of the Southeast. The leaves are generally smooth and oval-shaped, with seven to 13 growing on each stem.
    • The appearance of each of these plants can vary considerably from region to region, and with the seasons. Even dead plants in underbrush can transmit the toxic oil to your skin. Identification of these plants can help you avoid them.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/19/2014
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Poison Ivy Oak And Sumac - Symptoms

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Plant Poisoning, Toxiccodendron »

Toxicodendron dermatitis is an allergic contact dermatitis (allergic phytodermatitis) that occurs from exposure to members of the plant genus Toxicodendron.

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