Last updated 4 years ago
Each year, millions of people develop a reaction to poison ivy. However, the plant itself does not cause the reaction; rather, symptoms are caused by sensitivity to urushiol. Urushiol is an oily substance harbored in the leaves, roots, and stems of poison ivy. Contact with this substance can cause an uncomfortable rash, known as allergic contact dermatitis. Some people develop a severe reaction to urushiol, which requires urgent care at a medical clinic.
Appearance of a Rash
A poison ivy rash often appears as a straight line initially, although it can spread out. The rash will appear red or it will have red streaks, and there may be evidence of swelling and blisters. When the blisters break open, crusting can form on the skin. Hives are also possible. Additionally, poison ivy rashes can be uncomfortably itchy. Individuals who seek urgent medical care at Total Access Urgent Care should fully disclose all of their symptoms.
Spread of the Rash
It is a common misconception that touching the rash and then touching another body part will always spread the poison ivy rash. Rather, the rash spreads by the transference of urushiol. A person with a poison ivy rash who has washed the skin promptly after the initial appearance of symptoms will not spread the rash further because the urushiol has been removed. Furthermore, it is not possible to spread the rash to other body parts or to another person via contact with the fluid in the blisters.
Duration of Symptoms
Often, a person who has not previously had contact with urushiol will not develop a rash. It may take a second exposure to develop the reaction. When a rash does appear, it may do so within a few hours of exposure, or it may take a few days. Some people may not develop a rash until a week after the initial exposure. The urgent care providers at Total Access Urgent Care may ask the patient when he or she believes the exposure occurred.
Individuals in need of urgent care in the St. Louis area are encouraged to visit Total Access Urgent Care. The walk-in clinic can be reached at (314) 961-2255. This convenient facility provides prompt medical attention for a wide range of illnesses and conditions, including skin rashes.