Corticosteroids for Poison Ivy, Oak, or SumacSee related handout on anavar 20mg a day results dermatitiswritten by the authors of this article. Contact dermatitis is a common inflammatory skin condition characterized by erythematous and pruritic skin lesions that occur after contact with a foreign substance. Topical steroid cream for poison ivy are two forms of contact dermatitis: Irritant contact dermatitis is caused by the non—immune-modulated irritation of the skin by a substance, leading to skin changes. Allergic contact dermatitis is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction in which a foreign substance comes into contact with the skin; skin changes occur after reexposure to the substance. The most common substances that cause contact dermatitis include poison ivy, nickel, and fragrances.
Diagnosis and Management of Contact Dermatitis - American Family Physician
July 24, Reviewed by: My boyfriend has had poison ivy for four days now and has been using Hydrocortisone to stop the itch. He claims that it will cure the rash.
I refuse to see him until he sees a doctor. If this is the case, you are not alone — by the time most people reach adulthood they have had some type of unpleasant rash caused by a contact allergy.
These allergic reactions can be caused by contact with metals such as nickel , shoes, fragrances found in creams and lotions , preservatives found in cosmetics , topical medications, and by certain types of plants. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac together produce more cases of allergic contact dermatitis than all other allergens combined.
The resulting rash can range from mildly unpleasant to a true emergency with intense swelling, blistering, and oozing. With even a moderate case, as you may have experienced, the itching can seem unbearable. In a previous answer , I described some surprising facts about where this rash comes from and how it might spread. In this answer I will focus on what to do once you have been unfortunate enough to contract poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac.
Most of the treatments are aimed at reducing the itching, until the self-limited rash runs its course, which takes about two weeks. Since easing the itching is the important result, trial and error works very well.
If one of these suggestions seems to work, by all means, stick with it. Most people find that cool compresses in one form or another are quite soothing.
This can help relieve the intense itching and remove dry crust that has formed as a result of the rash. A fan blowing over the cool compress will diminish some of the heat of the itching and help to dry up some of the ooze coming from the rash. As the skin is cooling, the blood vessels compress and that cuts down on the itching and the new ooze. This is especially good during the two or three worst days of the rash. Along the same lines, some dermatologists recommend rubbing an ice cube gently over the rash several times a day, then letting the skin air dry.
Soaking in a tub, particularly using an oatmeal bath such as Aveeno, can also be very soothing to the itch. Be sure the bath is cool or lukewarm — but not hot — as heat tends to make the rash even more inflamed. After the cooling using any of the forms mentioned above , coat the rash with a shake lotion such as calamine.
This continues to relieve the itching and helps to dry up the blisters. Be sure to check the expiration date on an old calamine bottle in your medicine cabinet, since it may not be effective after the expiration date.
Be sure the shake lotion does not contain benzocaine, zirconium, or a topical antihistamine, such as benadryl. These can actually make the rash worse by producing their own allergic reactions when applied to already sensitive skin. Smearing on hydrocortisone as your boyfriend has done , or other topical corticosteroids, will help suppress the itching and give temporary relief, but does little to hasten the drying up of the rash. Similarly, taking an oral antihistamine, such as benadryl, can help with the itching quite a bit, although it does not speed up resolution of the rash.
Taking benadryl at nighttime will make most people drowsy and help them sleep through the night without itching. The goal of reducing itching is brought about by cooling by constricting the blood vessels , by drying the rash, or by quieting down the allergic response. In severe cases of poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, it is a good idea to see a doctor.
Sometimes large blisters need to be drained, and sometimes an oral steroid such as prednisone may be useful. Systemic steroids produce rapid resolution of both the itching and the rash. If they are needed, a gradually tapering dosage over about 12 days should be given. The dosage needs to be tapered to avoid side effects after discontinuing use, and the entire course should be taken since stopping earlier may result in a rebound rash as bad as the original.
Allergy shots are available to help prevent recurrences of the poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac rash. Unfortunately, the shots for this are frequently ineffective and should be reserved only for those who are extremely sensitive. Prescription pills containing small amounts of extract from the plants have been used for immunization.
However, these pills can cause uncomfortable side effects. The pills are recommended only if given before contact with the plant and only for individuals who come into frequent contact with the plant. Greene is a practicing physician, author , national and international TEDx speaker , and global health advocate.
I have a oak rash on my arm. I was wondering if you should remove the old calamine or hydrocortisone cream before putting on new? My son has poison ivy and him being a senior has many activities coming up especially with pictures so he would like to get rid of it as soon as possible.
He has Ciclopirox Olamine creme from ring worm during wrestling season and I wondered if that would help? Also, because the ring worm was such an out break during the wrestling season he was given oral lamisil mgs and I was wondering if that would work?
This would be along with washing and if necessary some alcohol wipes. Any info would be great. It is on his neck. I am the co-founder of DrGreene. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies. My itching has almost subsided, but I have a terrible bright red rash on the inside of my arm. I have tried calomine, but not sure it is helping. The Aloe Vera feels good, but will it be helpful? Hi Mark, Thanks for writing in!
Aloe vera can be helpful for helping skin recover and not get damaged from drying out. If it is helping with the itch, that sounds great. Alexandra caring helper at DrGreene. I am highly allergic to poison ivy oak and sumac.
Went to Dr last year and they almost killed me with steroid shot what can I do. I had a horrible outbreak of poison ivy when I was 16, my entire legs were covered in blisters and swollen for over a month. Since then I have had an occasional random rash break out.
I was tested to see what else I may be allergic to and topical benzocaine came up. Did the poison ivy cause this? Has anyone had strange breakouts after their experience with poison ivy? For those with long bouts, please make doubly sure you are not reinfecting yourself via garden tools, wallets, steering wheels, door handles, or any other common surface you may be touching.
If the oil is there, you are possibly reinfecting. I worked with poison ivy a week ago, and did not get it. Four days later, I moved the shears in the trunk of my car and whammo — I have it, but mildly. Keep in mind, it often takes hours, to few days, before symptoms of poison ivy appear. So you could have still had it in the first contact. Yes it is contagious my fiance has it and if you were in contact with him and he still had oils of the plant on him you will surely get it it may take a couple days after contact with him but you will get it.
The oil, Urushiol is, only if it has not been properly washed off the contaminated person. Using dawn detergent and a wash cloth for some friction to ensure your actually wiping it off, as it sticks like a grease would , wash the areas 3 times. That is typically enough to ensure there is no residual oil left on the body. Also, 3 washes within hours, on the person that came in contact with the plant, can avoid the rash altogether, in most cases.
It is not an instant rash, so wash every area thoroughly and you may not have to suffer any symptoms. What is the proper way to wash away the poison ivy oil from door knobs, phones, steering wheels etc. You are right that it is very important to get the oil off of all surfaces that may have come in contact with poison ivy oil. This is true for poison oak and sumac as well.
You can use a product that is sold just for this purpose. Most sporting goods stores and some drug stores have them. The friction from the towel is a big help. Then rinse with water.
Be sure to wear gloves while you clean and either use disposable towels or wash them thoroughly before using them again. I get a poison ivy rash just about every other time I mow the lawn. I have found the best thing you can do is take a cold shower. Just stand in the shower and let the water rinse it all off. Soaps, especially with degreasers like dawn does makes it spread worse. Steering wheel seat belt. Once you wash the original oils urishiol it will not spread.
By following this I have not spread it to my wife or any of my 3 little girls. And I stay home with the youngest so I have to touch her alot when changing clothes, diapers, and cleaning up after eating.
To keep it relatively itch free I rotate between witch hazel, calamine lotion, and quick shot cortisone spray. Steroid creams help also. Its usually itch free days after I start my regimine and I can quit everything except a steroid cream to help heal the rash at this point and its completely gone about a week after that. Leaves, stems, and roots in every season.