Categorized | Skin Care

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How to Tell If You Have Poison Ivy

In the summertime, especially, there are a lot of rashes out there. You can get rashes from contact with just about any plant, depending on what you’re allergic to and there are things like poison ivy and poison oak that can lead to similar symptoms.

So how can you tell if you have poison ivy? First, think about what you’ve come in contact with. If you have come in contact with a three-leaved plant that grows about one to two feet off the ground, then it probably is an attack of poison ivy that you’ve got. As soon as you’ve treated your skin and washed your clothes, put it on your to do list to remove that patch of plants from your backyard.

The rash can be in a localized area although some people get the rash over their entire body. Common areas of poison ivy are the legs, where they brush up against the plant, and the arms, if you are reaching down and touching the plant. The rash is red and raised and can have blisters of fluid in the bumps. Often the rash is irregular in nature and there are often linear lines of bumps because you’ve scratched the area and there is a line of bumps from your fingernails.

The rash from poison ivy can start in a small area but, with scratching, you move the oil-based toxin around on your skin and the rash will spread. It can also spread if you continue to wear the same clothing that you were wearing when you first came in contact with the plant. The toxin can be on your clothing and can spread the oily substance to other areas of the skin. Be sure to wash any clothing you were wearing when you were exposed to the plant.

Poison ivy rash can be on any body area, although it is usually on the extremities, as mentioned. If you get a total body rash, your body has set up a systemic response to the toxin and you will get the lesions everywhere.

Rashes that are similar to poison ivy symptoms include fungal infections. The difference between fungal infections like ring worm and the plant-based rash is that the rash from a plant is raised and has blisters, whereas the rash you get from a fungal infection is usually flat, dry and more confluent than rashes from a plant.

Another rash that can mimic poison ivy is eczema. Eczema is a flat and dry rash that involves several body areas at once. It has scales on it usually, which is not the case in poison ivy. The same is true of psoriasis, which is scaly and red and usually occurs on the elbows and knees. Psoriasis and eczema do not have blisters.

Is the blister fluid in poison ivy contagious? In other words, can you give the rash to someone if they come in contact with the blister fluid? The toxin is oil based and the blister fluid is water-based. You can have spread of the toxin and poison ivy when you break the blisters but it is from the oil-based toxin on the surface of the skin that is causing the spread and not the blister fluid.

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