poison ivy













With summer upon us and lots of outdoor activities on the horizon, we could all use a refresher course on poison ivy. In the June 16 article in the Well section of The New York Times, “Steering Clear of Poison Ivy,” Jane E. Brody shares her AAD-endorsed knowledge for putting plenty of distance between yourself and a bothersome rash.

Learn the myths and misconceptions about poison ivy, says Joel Schlessinger MD.

It’s important to remember, first and foremost, that no one is completely immune to urushiol, the oily sap found in poison ivy that is responsible for causing rashes. Many believe that they are either allergic to urushiol or they’re not, and that if they’re not, they will never get a rash. The truth is that even if you’ve been exposed to poison ivy plants in the past without suffering a reaction, future exposure may produce one since previous exposure can induce sensitivity. It may take a higher or lower concentration of urushiol to produce a rash depending on the individual, but the risk is always present.

Jane E. Brody stresses that it’s crucial to know what to look for. Poison ivy, while usually a small ground plant, can also grow as a shrub or vine. Look up the plant in its various forms and stages of growth to learn how to identify it properly. Joel Schlessinger MD emphasizes that it’s not just poison ivy leaves that can cause a reaction, it’s any part of the plant. Stems and roots can also cause a rash, as can flowers and berries.

Urushiol also has the power to penetrate clothing, so while long sleeves and other protective gear may significantly reduce your chances of coming into direct contact, they will not prevent it entirely. You also don’t have to touch a plant directly to react to urushiol. Camping or sporting equipment and even pets can transfer urushiol to the skin.

The AAD, along with Joel Schlessinger MD, recommends washing the skin to avoid a rash.

The American Academy of Dermatology and Joel Schlessinger MD recommend washing your skin immediately after contact with poison ivy. Lukewarm, soapy water is best, but even plain water will do in a pinch to limit urushiol exposure. Take care when removing contaminated clothing and be sure to wash it separately from other garments to prevent cross-contamination.

Try FixMySkin Healing Balm, developed by Joel Schlessinger MD, to treat poison ivy.

Sometimes developing a rash can happen despite our best efforts at avoidance. To treat minor poison ivy reactions, choose FixMySkin Healing Body Balm Unscented with 1% Hydrocortisone. This handy balm stick features 1% healing hydrocortisone to repair skin irritation. It also contains cocoa and shea butters to hydrate and relieve itching and dryness.

Do you have a question for Joel Schlessinger MD about poison ivy? Let us know in the comments section.


Posted Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 5:06 pm
Filed Under Category: Skin Care
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