Poison ivy - oak - sumac

Sumac - poisonous; Oak - poisonous; Ivy - poisonous

Poison ivy, oak, or sumac poisoning is an allergic reaction that results from touching the sap of these plants. The sap may be on the plant, in the ashes of burned plants, on an animal, or on other objects that came in contact with the plant, such as clothing, garden tools, and sports equipment.

Small amounts of sap can remain under a person's fingernails for several days. It must be purposely removed with thorough cleaning.

Plants in this family are strong and hard to get rid of. They are found in every state of the continental United States. These plants grow best along cool streams and lakes. They grow especially well in areas that are sunny and hot. They do not survive well above 1,500 m (5,000 feet), in deserts, or in rainforests.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Poison oak rash on the arm

Poison oak rash on the arm. Several plants produce toxins that cause skin reaction. This is the appearance of poison oak dermatitis. Note the typical linear streaks produced either by scratching or brushing against the plant. (Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Poison ivy on the knee

This is a typical early appearance of a poison ivy rash, located on the knee. These early lesions consist of multiple small blisters (vesicles), often in a line where the skin has brushed against the poison ivy plant. The person may then spread the toxin to other areas of the body by scratching.

Poison ivy on the leg

This is a typical early appearance of a poison ivy rash, located on the leg. These early lesions consist of multiple small blisters, often in a line where the skin has brushed against the poison ivy plant. The rash is caused by skin contact with the oily sap (resin) of these plants. The oily resin usually enters the skin rapidly, and is seldom transferred from person to person. The rash is not caused by the fluid from the blisters. Thus, once the person has washed the oil off the skin, the rash is usually not contagious.

Poisonous Ingredient

Where Found

Symptoms

Home Care

Before Calling Emergency

Poison Control

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

Outlook (Prognosis)