What are symptoms of poison ivy?

Spring and summer are the best time to spend enjoying the great outdoors. Whether going on a camping adventure with friends or having a backyard BBQ with the family, spending time in nature is a favorite pastime of America. However, underneath the fun and relaxation lurks an enemy waiting to strike. Poison ivy runs rampant in nearly every state and territory in North America and is in full bloom during these warmer months. Many times poison ivy grows in backyards unnoticed or confused with a nonpoisonous plant. If you come into contact with poison ivy, you will most likely develop a rash. In fact, 9 out of 10 people have a reaction of varying degrees from mild to severe. What are the symptoms of poison ivy?

Poison ivy symptoms range from a mildly uncomfortable experience to a deadly nightmare depending on the intensity of your allergy and amount of exposure to the plant.
The common symptoms of poison ivy include:

  • Redness

Redness is often first seen as streaks or splotches where the oil came into contact with the skin.  The skin will remain red as the skin becomes irritated and inflamed from the rash.

  • Itching

One of the most irritating aspects of poison ivy rash is the constant itching. Scratching the infected area will only make the skin more inflamed.

  • Swelling

The infection site may experience swelling depending on the severity of the allergic reaction.

  • Blisters

These are usually fluid-filled and incredibly painful. While it may be tempting to pop them in an attempt to relieve the pain, it is not recommended. Doing so can actually make your reaction worse and open you up to new infections.

  • Difficulty Breathing

If poison ivy plants burn, either from a brush fire or a person incorrectly removing it from their property, you can breathe these toxins in and have a severe reaction. Airways will swell making it hard to breathe. This can be a serious concern and should be treated by a medical professional immediately.

In general, poison ivy can be treated effectively at home using over-the-counter remedies. If you have a severe allergy to the plant, you may need to seek prompt medical attention. If you have trouble breathing, a rash affecting the facial region, a fever develops, or if the reaction is widespread affecting more than one area of the body, you should seek medical attention.

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