Poison Ivy Rash & Treatment

June 29, 2022
Picture of poison ivy plant

Few things can spoil a summer afternoon faster than a run-in with poison ivy. We here in the Northeast are subject to “eastern poison ivy”—a more dangerous version of its western counterpart that can grow as a shrub or climbing vine. It can be found in wooded areas, by roads, alongside rivers and lakes, and even near beaches in northern states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.

Poison ivy rash is an allergic reaction to urushiol, an oily resin that’s found in the roots, leaves, and stems of eastern poison ivy. It’s estimated that 85% of Americans are allergic to urushiol, with 10% to 15% of the population being severely allergic. A poison ivy rash can result from a quick brush-up against bare skin and usually appears 12 to 48 hours after contact. In most cases, the rash lasts between two to three weeks.

What Does a Poison Ivy Rash Look Like?

Poison ivy rash often forms in thin red lines after leaves or stems brush against skin. If urushiol is transferred to your skin from a dog or another animal, or if you gather yard waste that includes poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, the rash may cover a larger area of the body.

In many cases, a poison ivy rash can:

  • Cause redness and itchiness
  • Become swollen
  • Blister and become painful

Should I Seek Medical Treatment for a Poison Ivy Rash?

Medical treatment isn’t necessary for mild poison ivy rashes that respond to self-care measures like using over-the-counter ointments and placing cold, wet compresses on the rash several times a day to reduce swelling. However, you should promptly consult with a medical professional if:

  • The rash doesn’t improve after a few weeks
  • Your skin continues to swell
  • Blisters begin to produce pus
  • The rash covers a large area of your body
  • The rash impacts your mouth, eyes, or genital area
  • You experience a fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit

Having a poison ivy rash or inhaling smoke from burning poison ivy can warrant emergency care in some instances. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you or someone around you:

  • Is having difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Has swollen eyelids
  • Is experiencing severely itchy skin that does not respond to any treatments

Same-Day Poison Ivy Rash Treatment From PhysicianOne Urgent Care

PhysicianOne Urgent Care is an excellent place to turn for poison ivy rash treatment in non-emergency scenarios. Our urgent care locations throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York are led by experienced physicians and serve patients of all ages. We make receiving same-day treatment simple with weekend and evening hours, walk-in availability, and online scheduling for people who prefer to plan ahead. Plus, we’re among a select few urgent care providers to offer 24/7 telemedicine services that allow patients to speak with our clinicians from anywhere, at any time to evaluate your rash.

We’ve got you! Visit a PhysicianOne Urgent Care location near you today for same-day medical treatment. If you have any questions, give our friendly team a call at 1-860-650-3848.

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