Hello, I’m doctor T. Wayne Day and I’m a dermatologist in Nashville
Tennessee and I’ve been helping people with poison
ivy for about thirty years and I’ve learned
some things I thought I might share with you if you have a rash that is often in streaks meaning you might be able to see a streak where the fingers
with the poison ivy liquid came in contact with the skin. This the typical finding that we look
for and if you have previous poison ivy/oak allergy then the rash can come up as early as the next day otherwise it may take a week or more you
may have you spots appear later because they had less of the poison ivy or poison oak antigen applied to them or that area is less sensitive so that may help you with the diagnosis
also in most areas of America there may be no poison sumac. You can look at
geographical maps and see if you have sumac in your area. For poison ivy and oak we’re looking for the plants that have three leaves. “Leaves
three let it be” is the old adage to remember. The leaves can
be any size and any color and they often are camouflaged almost they look like
the surrounding vegetation so you have to look closely. So now let’s move on to treatment. Here’s my suggestions. You may end up seeing someone for treatment that may not have
had as much experience or training so they may not know proper length of treatment for instance. One of the most common mistakes
mistakes I see is for people to receive only a 6 day dose pack and that means you take the series of prednisone or
cortisone pills for six days. You start out the lot in it then it tapers over the six days
with the problem with that is it takes twelve days of treatment
otherwise on the seventh day after you’ve just
finished your six day dose pack the rash comes right back! So if you have to
go to a walk in clinic or someplace similar and they’ve given you one of those 6 day packs, I suggest you just call back and ask for a second one and that way you
could take day one, then day one, day two then day two just alternate between the two dose
packs and that way get you twelve days of treatment. As far as topical remedies, the only topical that I have found effective is clobetasol foam and originally came out under the name Olux and now it’s available as a
generic so for mild to moderate cases meaning
you’re not covered from head to toe and there’s a no big
blisters then a lot of people can do better just
using a topical 3-4 times a day. The allergic reaction to poison ivy is not mediated by histamine release so the only benefit antihistamines my offer (even prescription ones)
with be if they help you sleep at night because they also have a sedative effect so there’s no need to fill a prescription
for an antihistamine you can just use an over-the-counter Benadryl at
bedtime, but you’ll probably need at least two
because the over-the-counter 25 milligram was originally intended for children so adults usually need more than one. Another thing that helps is what we used to call wet compresses.
Wet dressings give immediate relief but now we just tell people in
our practice to take a paper towel or soft cloth with cold water on it and lay it on the affected area for just a
minute or two. Don’t pat the top. As it cools down the skin that’s going
to give the skin relief from itching from the poison ivy rash. The rash is not contagious to yourself or others. That’s a popular myth. So it can be only transmitted the first hour or so
that you come in contact with the poison ivy. It reminds me of us small child that has
gotten a chocolate mess on his hands it doesn’t realize it then
everywhere that’s touched a lot of times that’s where gradually
the rash will show up. I hope this helps.

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