Signs You Have Poison Ivy

Spending time outdoors is all fun and games until you come home with an itchy, uncomfortable rash that just won’t go away! Poison ivy is very common, and your chances of experiencing it at some point if you like to spend time outdoors is relatively high. Identifying the symptoms of poison ivy early can help to make symptoms much more manageable and avoid another exposure in the future.

AFC Urgent Care Burlington provides treatment for all patients who are suffering from poison ivy reactions. We can recommend the best medications and prescribe pain medication for severe cases.


Common symptoms that you have poison ivy include:

  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Red blisters

A poison ivy rash does not always appear in a specific pattern or place on the body. It commonly starts in a straight line, but it can be spread to different areas of the body and into a larger patch quickly after exposure.

What Causes Poison Ivy?

Poison ivy happens when your skin comes into contact with urushiol oil. This oil is found on the poison ivy plant and can also get onto fur or fabrics and be spread that way. If you know you’ve been in contact with poison ivy, wash the affected area right away. A rash will typically appear within 24-48 hours after exposure if one is going to form. Poison ivy in the lungs is caused by burning poison ivy and can result in a burning sensation that makes it hard to breathe. You should never burn plants or wood you’re unfamiliar with because of the risk of accidentally burning and inhaling poison ivy.

Treating Poison Ivy

The severity of a poison ivy rash depends on where it’s at on the body, how much urushiol oil you were exposed to, if you spread the oil around to other areas of your body by itching, and your own level of reaction to the oil. Some people are severely allergic and will experience intense rashes, while others will have no rash at all. Most cases of poison ivy resolve with at-home treatment in 2-3 weeks. Your doctor should evaluate a rash lasting more than three weeks.

Poison ivy can be treated at home using soothing lotions, anti-itch creams, and cool baths or showers. If the rash gets so severe that your blisters are producing puss or it’s impacting a large area of your body, you should see a medical professional right away. You should visit an emergency room or urgent care center if the poison ivy is affecting your eyes, genitals, lungs, or mouth.

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