What is poison ivy?A poison ivy rash is an allergic reaction to urushiol. Urushiol is an oil present on the leaves, stems, and roots of the poison ivy plant. This oil is also present on poison sumac and poison oak plants. If you touch these plants, you may develop an itchy rash that lasts up to several weeks. Not everyone is sensitive to the oil. Some people can touch poison ivy without having a reaction.
What is psoriasis?Psoriasis is a common skin condition. An autoimmune disorder causes it. This condition changes the life cycle of your skin cells. Instead of your cells growing and falling off in a monthly cycle, psoriasis causes your skin cells to develop too rapidly over days. This overproduction can cause cells to build up on the skin’s surface, and it can lead to the development of red rashes and whitish-silver plaques.
What are the symptoms of poison ivy?If you’re sensitive to poison ivy, you may experience these symptoms:
What are the symptoms of psoriasis?If you develop psoriasis, you may experience the following symptoms:
- red patches of skin
- whitish-silver plaques, also called scales
- dry, cracked skin
- cracked skin that bleeds
- itching, pain, or soreness around plaques
Tips for identifying poison ivyA poison ivy rash may appear in straight lines. This is the result of plants brushing across your skin. The rash may no longer have those lines if you transfer the urushiol to your clothing or your hands and then accidentally spread it across your body. Symptoms typically begin to develop within a few hours or days after you come in contact with the plant. The more urushiol you come in contact with, the faster the reaction will be.
Tips for identifying psoriasisPsoriasis can develop in one small area, or it can be widespread. Psoriasis patches are most common on the following areas:
How is poison ivy treated?If you know you came into contact with the plant, immediately wash your skin with warm, soapy water. You may be able to rinse off most of the oil. Washing will also help prevent you from spreading the oil to other items, your pets, or other people. Wash your clothing and any tools or utensils that also came in contact with the plant. If you develop a rash, you may be able to treat it on your own with over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch lotions, soothing bath solutions, and antihistamine medicines. In some cases, the rash may be too large or widespread, or cause too many blisters for OTC treatments. In those cases, visit your dermatologist. They may prescribe an anti-itch ointment, or corticosteroid in pill or injection form. If you develop blisters on your rash that burst, you don’t have to worry about the rash spreading. The fluid inside those blisters doesn’t contain urushiol. You should avoid scratching because scratching may lead to infections.
How is psoriasis treated?There’s no cure for psoriasis. Current treatments are designed to ease the symptoms caused by the condition and reduce the length of outbreaks. Learn about 10 ways to treat psoriasis at home. Treatments for psoriasis fall into three categories:
Topical ointmentsSeveral types of creams and ointments are used to reduce itching, swelling, and burning. Most of these are available only by a prescription from your doctor.
Light therapyControlled exposure to ultraviolet lights and even sunlight may lessen the severity of your psoriasis outbreak. Don’t attempt to treat yourself with light therapy without first talking with your doctor. Too much exposure may make the condition worse.
Systemic treatmentsFor more severe or widespread cases of psoriasis, injected or oral medications may help. These medicines can only be used for a brief period, so your doctor may rotate their use with other treatments.
What are the risk factors for poison ivy?Outdoor activity is the primary risk factor for developing this rash. If you work or play outside, your odds of touching poison ivy are higher. This is especially true if you work in wooded areas. These are a few precautions that you can take to avoid or limit contact with the plant:
- Learn to recognize poison ivy so you can avoid it.
- Eliminate the plant with weed killing sprays if it begins growing in your yard.
- Wear protective clothing when you’re in wooded areas. This can help you reduce the chances of the plant brushing across your skin.
- Immediately wash any clothing or tools you use while outdoors to avoid spreading oils.
What are the risk factors for psoriasis?You may have an increased risk for psoriasis if:
- you have a family history of psoriasis
- you have chronic infections or a weakened immune system
- you have chronic stress, which can weaken your immune system
- you smoke or use tobacco
- you’re overweight or obese
When you should see a doctorYou may have difficulty breathing if you’ve been around burning poison ivy and you’ve inhaled the smoke. Seek emergency treatment if breathing problems are severe. If you have a poison ivy rash, you should see your doctor if:
- the rash is severe
- the rash is widespread
- the swelling doesn’t stop with treatment
- the treatments aren’t helping
- the rash affects your face, eyes, or genitals
- you develop a fever over 100°F (37.8°C)
- your blisters become infected