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Providence Medford: Poison Oak

Providence Medford: Poison Oak. (KTVL)

Poison Oak

• Identification- Rhus (toxicodendron) plant (below is link to photo if we can use):

o 3 leaves on single stem

o Green, red, dark red leaves

o Green/white berries (fruit) in autumn

• Rash cause-

o Toxic oil (oleoresin) contact with skin

o Oil released w/ exposure to broken plants, rubbing against (hiking/biking), rain, dry weather, burning/smoke

o Other exposure sources: contaminated clothing, pets, gardening tools

• Symptoms-

o Red rash, intense itching, blisters (weeping clear fluid), swelling/edema

o Within 4 hrs-4 days exposure (most cases)

o Lung symptoms (plant burning)

• Prevention-

o Wash promptly after known exposure- 50% oil can be removed w/ soap/water within 10 mins of exposure

o Wash clothing

o Barrier creams (Ivy Block = clay compound)- controversial; one study 32% still had rash reaction, re-apply q 4 hrs

• Treatment

o OTC topical (Calamine, Oatmeal or Aveeno baths- for comfort)

o Prescription: When to see your doctor-

Severe rash, face/ genitals, widespread areas, signs bacterial infection:

o topical steroid creams

o oral steroids (prednisone) 2-3 week course

o antibiotics for secondary skin infection

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