- Pediatric Expert Tips: Poison Ivy
  • Search:

Pediatric Expert Tips: Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy

Summer means the kids are spending more time outdoors and are likely at greater risk of coming into contact with poison ivy. The oil in poison ivy, oak and sumac plants causes an allergic reaction in 60 to 80% of people who come in contact with it. Most of us just get a mild rash that can be treated at home, but some children get a severe rash that requires medical treatment.

Watch this video of Children's Hospital Emergency Department Director Ryan Redman, M.D., talking about identification and treatment of poison ivy:

Poison Ivy: Signs and Symptoms

  • Itchy red rash (appears within 4 hours to 4 days after touching the plant oil)
  • Blisters that ooze clear fluid
  • Bumps and blisters that may be different sizes and look like streaks on the skin

Contact with Poison Ivy, Oak, Sumac

  • Remove clothing and wash it
  • Gently wash skin and scrub under fingernails right away with soap and water
  • Cut fingernails short to keep child from breaking the skin when scratching
  • A cool compress may help
  • For itching, add oatmeal to bath or use calamine lotion (do not use on face or groin area)

Seek Medical Care if:

  • Rash covers a large portion of the body, is on the face or in groin area
  • Rash is getting worse despite home treatment
  • Skin looks infected (increasing redness, warmth, pain, swelling, or pus)

Seek Emergency Care if child:

  • has known severe allergy to poison ivy/oak/sumac
  • develops swelling of tongue or throat
  • was given shot of epinephrine (EpiPen)

Read more tips from Children's Hospital for staying safe this summer.

Back to News Listing