Poison sumac can cause a skin rash among sensitive individuals. The plants release urushiol which is a substance present in the leaves, stems and fruit if they are damaged.
Some individuals do not react to urushiol but most are sensitive to it. A severely itchy rash might arise within 24-72 hours. If not treated, the rash will eventually settle in several weeks. A doctor should be consulted if the rash spreads to the mouth, eyes or genitals since this necessitates further treatment.
Wash the entire body using water and soap within 10-15 minutes of exposure to poison sumac to prevent a rash by eliminating urushiol from the body.
Clothing, shoes, tools and any object that was exposed to the plant must be washed with water and alcohol to prevent further contact with the skin. If urushiol is left on objects, it is still capable of triggering a reaction years later.
In case rashes and blisters manifest, the individual should avoid scratching the site since it allows bacteria to enter the damaged areas and start an infection.
Soothe the itchiness and lessen the swelling by applying a cold compress or soak in a cool bath several times throughout the day. Baking soda or oatmeal can be added to the bath water. Burow’s solution can be dabbed on the blistering areas 2-3 times in a day for 20 minutes.
Over-the-counter drugs can be given to lessen the itchiness and swelling after exposure to poison sumac. A corticosteroid cream or calamine lotion can be applied on the skin.
An antihistamine specifically diphenhydramine can be given to lessen the itchiness as well as allow the individual to sleep.
Zinc oxide can be used to protect the skin and allow the blisters to dry. In some cases, prescription medications including antibiotics are given for an infection while corticosteroids are suggested if the rashes become widespread.