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Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Itch Relief

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is a common, weed-like plant found in many parts of the country, most commonly in the Central and Eastern U.S. It is an invasive bush with vines that can climb in and around neighboring plants. The leaves typically grow three leaflets to one stem and have either smooth or jagged edges. In the fall, the leaves can turn yellow, orange and red, and in the spring they produce small green flowers that bear waxy, off-white and green berries.

Poison Oak

Poison oak is an invasive plant that grows low to the ground, most commonly in the Western U.S., with leaves that resemble oak tree leaves. Similar to poison ivy, poison oak leaves grow three leaflets to one stem and produce yellow-white berries in the spring.

Poison Sumac

Poison sumac generally grows as a small bush or a small tree, most commonly in the Southern U.S., and has two rows of leaflets to one stem with one leaflet shooting out from the top of the stem.

Cause of Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Itch:

When people come in contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac, they often develop an allergic reaction that causes an itchy rash at the site of exposure. The leaves of the plant secrete a resin called urushiol (u-ROO-she-ol) that provokes a delayed allergic reaction one day or more after exposure to the skin. Even a small amount of urushiol can cause a reaction. For many people the rash can be extremely irritating and itchy. Urushiol is extremely sticky and does not dry, so it is easy to spread to various parts of your body, especially if your initial contact was with your hands. The resin can also be spread through clothes that have come in contact with the plant, with animal fur, and through smoke inhalation. The good news is that the rash is generally not a serious condition and can be treated at home with over-the-counter anti-itch remedies, such as steroid-free TriCalm Anti-Itch products.


  • Poison ivy rash is contagious. The blisters and rash produced by the urushiol do not spread nor are they contagious to others. You can however spread the rash if the urushiol has been left on your hands or clothes and they come in contact with other parts of your body or someone else.
  • You can catch poison ivy by being near the plants. The only way you can expose yourself to poison ivy is by having direct contact with urushiol. It is best to stay away from forest fires, direct burning, or any other situation that can cause the oil to become airborne. You can avoid exposure to poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac by wearing long pants and sleeves when you’re in the vicinity of these plants. Wash your hands and clothes immediately after you’ve been outside.
  • Leaves of three let them be. While poison ivy and poison oak have three leaves, poison sumac can have seven to 13 leaves per stem.
  • Dead poison ivy plants will not cause an allergic reaction. Urushiol can stay active for up to five years on any surface including dead plants. Furthermore, the urushiol can be present on the stems of the plants, even if no leaves are present.
  • Breaking the blisters on your skin releases the urushiol and causes the rash to spread. No, scratching the rash will not cause it to spread unless the oil is still on your hands. If scratching leads to blisters the rash will not spread; however, the open wounds can become infected, resulting in redness, swelling, pain, and ultimately leading to scarring.


The symptoms of the poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac are commonly:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Inflammation of the skin

The rash is generally in a straight line because that is how the plant brushed against your skin. If you came in contact with urushiol by way of clothing or animal fur then the rash may spread outward.

Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Treatments

The rash will typically go away by itself in about one to two weeks. Home remedies for these allergenic plants include cool baths and cold compresses. TriCalm can help stop the itching sensation, which will help prevent blisters caused by scratching. Because TriCalm is steroid-free, you can use it as much as needed to stop the itching. Most people feel relief with TriCalm for anywhere from two to six hours, although individual results may vary.

  • Immediately cleanse your body and clothes, including your shoes, with an ordinary soap and detergent to remove the urushiol oils that may still be on your skin, clothing, or shoes
  • Apply TriCalm to the affected area
  • Apply a cold compress to relieve swelling and redness.

If the affected area becomes hot, red and swollen, contact your doctor immediately, as you could have developed a bacterial infection that will need to be treated with antibiotics.

Itch Relief for Poison Ivy

We Recommend Using TriCalm Extra Strength Itch Relief Spray

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