Poison Ivy and Poison Oak

Also known as: poison ivy rash, poison oak rash.

What are poison ivy and poison oak?

Poison ivy (a ground or climbing vine) and poison oak (a ground, climbing vine or shrub) are common plants that can cause an allergic skin rash.

What causes poison ivy and poison oak?

Most children will have an allergic reaction when their skin comes in contact with the oil called urushiol oil found in poison ivy and poison oak. The oil easily contaminates clothes, toys and pets.

What are the symptoms of poison ivy and poison oak?

Symptoms present within a few hours or days (1-3) of coming into contact with either plant which include a very itchy red swollen skin rash that can cover a large area and which turns into bumps and then blisters. These may break and ooze liquid. After a few days blisters harden and form crusts. In rare cases, if the oil is released by burning, poison ivy and poison oak may cause breathing problems and other life-threatening symptoms.

What are poison ivy and poison oak care options?

Learning to recognize and avoid poison ivy and poison oak is the best strategy. If contact occurs, bath and wash the child with soap and water as quickly as possible. If the rash is mild; prevent scratching (to prevent secondary bacterial infection), and treat with cool water compresses for 20 minutes and oral and over-the-counter anti-allergy medications (lotions and topical). For a severe rash, contact your pediatrician or Emergency Department. The rash may last for 2 weeks.

Upcoming Events

1st Annual Vascular Birthmarks Meeting

Come and learn about the diagnosis and treatment of vascular birthmarks and how we can help your child.

Learn more and register

Talkin' Kids Health Facebook Live with Beatriz Canals

Join us for a Live chat with Dr. Ana Duarte, Pediatric Dermatologist, Dr. Chad Perlyn, Pediatric Plastic Surgeon and Dr. Ricardo Restrepo, Pediatric Radiologist, who together are part of the comprehesive multi-specialty center for the evaluation and management of all birthmakrs, known as The International Birthmark Institute (TIBI) at Nicklaus Children's Hospital. Hear from these top doctors about what you and your families should know about birthmarks in this edition of Talkin' Kids Health.

Learn more and register

Reviewed by: Ana Margarita Duarte, MD

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:18:04 PM

From the Newsdesk

Hialeah Community Celebrates the Opening of Outpatient Center
04/17/2018 — Elected officials and business leaders representing the Hialeah community celebrated the opening of the Nicklaus Children’s Hialeah Outpatient Center. Thank you to all the community leaders who joined with Nicklaus Children’s Health System representatives to celebrate this milestone event, aimed at increasing healthcare convenience and access for families in the Hialeah community.
Nicklaus Children’s Opens Subspecialty Care Center in Boynton Beach
11/07/2017 — The Boynton Beach Care Center is the newest Nicklaus Children’s care location and offers a range of services for children from birth through 21 years of age.