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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Poison Ivy, Oak, or Sumac: Tips for Washing
If you have contact with
poison ivy, oak, or sumac, immediately wash areas of
the skin that may have touched the plant. Sometimes the resulting rash
(contact dermatitis) can be completely avoided by
washing the affected areas with plenty of water and soap (such as dishwashing soap) or rubbing alcohol. Rinse often, so that the soap or rubbing alcohol doesn't dry on the skin and make the rash worse. Use creek or stream water if you are outdoors.
Urushiol can remain active on clothing and other items for many
months, especially in dry climates. If these items are not cleaned properly,
handling them can spread the urushiol to the skin and possibly cause a rash.
August 19, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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