Poison Ivy Symptoms

What are some signs and symptoms of a poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac rash?

Now that you are fully aware of what the different types of poison ivy plants look like, we can get into the poison ivy symptoms. Poison ivy can cause rashes, redness, swelling and blisters. The blisters can either look  as if they are filled with clear or yellow puss. These poison ivy symptoms can be found all over the body, including the genitals and face. If you have poison ivy symptoms on your genitals or face it is highly recommend to see a doctor immediately. If you happen to breathe in poison ivy you may experience difficulty breathing and pain in your mouth and throat area; consult a physician immediately. If your symptoms are not as severe, you can apply several poison ivy remedies.

What does a poison ivy rash look like?

The symptoms can be either mild or extremely severe. Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac all contain urushiol which produce the same symptoms. However poison sumac is considered the most toxic out of the three plants. If you know you've come in contact with poison ivy, wash the affected areas within 15 minutes of contact, preferably with cold water and dish washing soap. View the poison ivy treatment page for more information. Poison ivy usually leaves a straight line rash on your skin, this is because of the way the poison ivy leaf brushed on your skin.  

Mild case of Poison Ivy
Severe case of Poison Ivy

Is poison ivy contagious?

A lot of people ask, is poison ivy contagious? The answer is yes and no, but mostly no. The only way poison ivy is contagious is if you touch someone immediately after touching poison ivy. If you've had the poison ivy rash for a few days, then it is not contagious. Urushiol, the oils on poison ivy leaves can last on clothing for up to 5 years if not washed. It's a good idea to wash your clothing in hot water after coming in contact with poison ivy. So don't worry about spreading poison ivy to other people, it is not contagious.

Can poison ivy spread?

Another common question associated with poison ivy is, can it spread to other parts of the body? The answer to this question is no. Many people believe that the puss inside the blisters are the actual urushiol found on the leaves. This is untrue. If the blisters are popped, they will not spread the rash to other parts of the body. Your probably wondering why your seeing new rashes as each day passes. This is because the affected areas of skin that showed signs of a rash first are more sensitive than the areas of skin that showed symptoms later on. It is not uncommon to see new blisters up to 2 weeks after contact. If you scratch the rashes and blisters you may be infecting the area with bacteria from under your nails. Not only that, but you can cause unwanted scarring.

When to see a doctor:
  • The rash covers a large portion of your body
  • The rash is on your face or genitals
  • If you experience a fever or weakness
  • Blisters continue to ooze for a few days
  • If you have the rash for more than a month
Next: What are some Poison Ivy Treatments?