We sometimes walk through a path in our neighborhood and I see what looks like poison ivy. How can I be sure it’s poison ivy and what should I do if I get it?
As the old rhyme goes, “leaves of 3—let them be!” Poison ivy is a three-leafed very distinct appearing plant that generally grows in the midst of other shrubbery. It rarely grows independently.
The rash caused by poison ivy is from an oily resin found in the leaves, stem and roots. When this oil touches your skin, it often causes a very itchy and blistering rash. If you believe you have come in contact with this plant, immediately wash the area with soap and water. There are products available that are effective at specifically removing poison ivy oil. You can find them online or at camping/outdoor stores.
If you develop a rash, it can generally be safely treated at home with a topical hydrocortisone cream and an antihistamine like diphenhydramine for the itching. An oatmeal bath can also be very beneficial to help treat severe itching. If the rash is gets infected (generally from scratching the lesions), then you should seek medical care with your primary care physician or a certified urgent care center.