What Is the Remedy for Poison Sumac?


Quick Answer

The effects of poison sumac can be treated with calamine lotion, cool compresses and cold showers, according to WebMD. Antihistamines can be applied to help with itching and blistering. More severe rashes and blisters may require a prescription for a corticosteroid.

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Full Answer

To prevent the oil of poison sumac from spreading, all clothing, gear and miscellaneous items that came into contact must be washed thoroughly, advises WebMD. The residue can remain for long periods of time, re-exposing the patient at a later date.

Known as urushiol, the toxic oil can spread through light contact, whether with the plant, its roots or something the oil has transferred onto, states WebMD. The oil remains toxic and dangerous even when the plant is dead. However, unless the oil remains on the skin, the rash cannot be transferred by touching someone's blister.

Symptoms include itching, hives, blisters and red streaks, according to WebMD. The symptoms are triggered by an allergic reaction to the oil that causes the body to treat uroshiol as a harmful substance. Repeated exposure can worsen reactions. More serious symptoms are swelling, widespread blisters and trouble breathing.

The rash first appears anywhere from a day to a week after initial contact, reports WebMD. It can last between 10 days to six weeks.

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