You can get a rash after coming into contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. These plants contain an oil called urushiol.

Direct or indirect contact with the oil causes the rash to appear. The rash is not contagious and cannot spread to other parts of your body.

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What are symptoms of poison ivy?

Most poison ivy rash will appear 12–72 hours after contact with the oil. You may experience these common symptoms:

  • Extreme itching
  • Redness
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Clusters of blisters

Poison ivy rash can range from mild to severe. If you experience any of these symptoms, go to the ER:

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing

How is poison ivy treated?

If you have a severe case of poison ivy rash, you may need a steroid or antibiotic.You can ease the itching with cold compresses, calamine lotion or hydrocortisone creams.

Frequent short, warm baths can also help. To prevent an infection, leave blisters alone and don’t scratch your skin.

Seek medical attention if your rash doesn’t improve in a week or if you’re not sure the rash was caused by poison ivy.

Visit your nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic for diagnosis and treatment.

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