Poison sumac is a plant that belongs to the same family such as poison ivy and poison oak. This plant can trigger an allergy when in close contact with the leaves, stem and the fruits. Some parts of poison sumac when it is rubbed against the skin can cause an allergic reaction due to the substance called urushiol oil that is found in the sap. Common symptoms of poison sumac allergy include severe itching and a red rash. It usually develops within 1-3 days after contact with the poison sumac plant and the reaction can last for many weeks.
- Exposure to different parts of sumac plant causes an itchy rash that usually develops within 24-72 hours.
- The rash begins as small red bumps and eventually become blisters in various sizes and the rash will form crusts and ooze.
- The rash can spread to different parts of the body that made contact with the oil from the plant. The rashes can have different shapes and patterns but usually the patterns are in straight lines or streaks across the skin.
- Different areas of the skin can develop blisters at different periods and appears as if the rash is spreading.
- The rash of poison sumac usually last for two to three weeks.
Treatment and home remedies
- When in contact with the plant, wash the affected areas using soap water within 10-15 minutes after the exposure in order to help minimize the chance of having a rash as the oil is rinsed away from the body.
- Wash the shoes as well as the instruments for gardening that come in contact with the plant with alcohol and water. Urushiol can stay in the dried state of the objects for long periods of time and can still produce reactions after some time.
- Apply a cool compress using water or milk in order to help lessen the itchiness caused by poison sumac. Avoid scratching the skin in order to minimize organisms from entering the parched skin that can cause an infection.
- Take an oatmeal bath to help in minimizing the itching and rashes caused by poison sumac.
- Take prescribed over-the-counter lotions such as calamine lotion and corticosteroid cream to lessen the itching.
- Applying aloe Vera gel to the affected area also helps with the condition.
- Take prescribed antihistamine medications such as Benadryl. Just remember to avoid driving or operate machinery when taking this medication.
Tips and prevention
- Avoid the sumac plant and be aware of its appearance because they vary with the seasons.
- Avoid burning the plant since it will release the allergens into the air. Once these allergens re inhaled, these particles can trigger reactions.
- Wear appropriate clothing that helps shield the skin such as socks, gloves, long sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Wash clothing that is contaminated by the plant oil in order to prevent rashes from developing.