Poison Ivy, Oak, or Sumac (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
What Increases Your Risk
People in certain jobs or with outdoor hobbies have an increased risk for contact with poison ivy, oak, or sumac and the resulting rash (allergic contact dermatitis). These people include:
Your risk of having a reaction to poison ivy, oak, or sumac and the severity of your allergic reaction depend mainly on your age and on the extent of the first contact or first few contacts with the plant. Other influences include physical activity and immune system function. Some studies show that how allergic you are to the plants may be inherited.1
When To Call a Doctor
Call a doctor if:
Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach. If the rash is not severe, watchful waiting may be appropriate. Home treatment may be used to relieve symptoms. Dark spots may develop, but this is not serious.
Watchful waiting is not appropriate if the rash develops over your entire body, becomes infected, or reappears or gets worse after using medicine. See your doctor.
Who to see
You may not need to see a doctor for the rash. But if you want to find the cause of the rash or if you want to treat an uncomfortable, severe, or infected rash, you may choose to see:
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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