What Does a Poison Ivy Rash Look Like?

June 23, 2021


A poison ivy rash results from a person coming into contact with the poison ivy plant, which is found in almost every region in the United States. The poison ivy plant sap called Toxicodendron radicans contains an oil- urushiol, the irritant that results in an allergic reaction and the development of a rash. Direct contact with the plant or its oil or secondary transfer can cause an allergic reaction.

Receive treatment for your poison ivy rash at AFC Urgent Care Short Hills. Our clinic is available on a walk-in basis, so you won’t have to make an appointment with your primary care physician or waste time in the emergency room.

Symptoms of Poison Ivy

Poison ivy causes an allergic reaction known as contact dermatitis, which happens when the skin is exposed to the irritant urushiol from poison ivy. Typical symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Rash on the skin roughly 12 hours after exposure

Description of Poison Ivy Rash

Poison ivy rash tends to look like patches or streaks of red and raised blisters that are usually itchy. Some people may experience black spots or streaks on their skin instead of a red rash.

Treatment Options

Self-treatment at home can be done, but there is no cure for poison ivy. Even without treatment, the rash and other symptoms usually disappear within two or three weeks. 


To help relieve the itching caused by the poison ivy and get a good night’s rest, taking an over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine could be pretty helpful. Oral antihistamines, such as Benadryl and Claritin, may help you sleep comfortably by easing itching and inflammation.

Drying lotion

To control the itching, apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream topically to stop the itching because of its soothing and cooling effect and dries the blistering rash.

Menthol Cream

Certain organic compounds are found in peppermint, giving it a cooling effect that is ideal for irritated skin. You can opt for buying OTC products containing menthol, or you can develop your own, like peppermint essential oils. Just remember that to prevent skin irritation, it’s important to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil or lotion.

Aloe Vera

Consider using aloe vera gels or OTC gels or creams to soothe your burn and minimize the swollen skin and redness. This will help to calm the affected skin and alleviate inflammation.

Tea Tree Oil

The anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil can help minimize the itching, irritation, and redness caused by poison ivy. The oil also has antimicrobial properties, which can help to reduce the risk of infection if the blisters crack open.

Prevent Poison Ivy Rash

There are some simple ways to prevent a poison ivy rash, including:

  • Staying away from the plant: Know what the plant looks like and avoid it when hiking, camping, or doing other outdoor activities.
  • Wear protective gear: When heading into an area that may potentially have poison ivy around, wear appropriate clothing, like pants, long sleeve shirt, socks, boots, and even heavy gloves if necessary.
  • Get rid of the plant from your yard if present. You can do this by using an herbicide or uprooting the plant from the ground, wearing heavy gloves during the process.

A poison ivy allergic reaction can leave you feeling miserable. However, there are some ways to treat a poison ivy rash and bring some comfort and relief. It’s always best to know how to and prevent exposure to the plant or its oil.


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