How do you prevent a poison sumac rash?


Quick Answer

Poison sumac rashes can only be prevented by protecting the skin from coming into contact with the urushiol oil found on sumac plants or avoiding sumac plants entirely, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, or AAD. Urushiol oil looks like brownish-black splotches on the leaves of sumac plants.

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Full Answer

Long, protective clothing combined with ivy block barrier cream can help prevent contact with poison sumac, suggests the AAD. Ivy block barrier contains bentoquatam, which prevents the skin from absorbing urushiol oil.

Urushiol causes an itchy and blistering rash in most people upon contact, reports the AAD. The rash is usually safe to treat at home with calamine lotion, cortisone cream and colloidal oatmeal baths. Cool compresses can help reduce itching and inflammation. To prevent infection, poison sumac sufferers should never scratch or pick at the rash or blisters that form.

After coming into contact with poison sumac, people should immediately wash the affected area with lukewarm water and soap, recommends the AAD. All clothes and other surfaces should be washed thoroughly to remove traces of urushiol. Urushiol is found in every part of poison sumac, including the roots, and the allergic reaction can be transferred through second-hand contact, such as through a pet's fur.

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