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How Serious Is It to Get a Poison Ivy Rash?

Summer hiking in Colorado is a beautiful thing! What makes it a little less beautiful, though, is when you discover an itchy, uncomfortable poison ivy rash afterward.

We all know that poison ivy is common, but how serious can it get? Our AFC Urgent Care Castle Rock team provides some answers and further helpful info below.

Why Does Poison Ivy Cause a Rash?

Poison ivy leaves produce an oil called urushiol, which causes an allergic skin reaction. The oil is easily wiped from the plants to other objects, such as clothes, pets and other objects. Also, if poison ivy is burned, the smoke from the plant can contain the oil.

If you or your child is experiencing any of the symptoms we’ve listed below, you or your child has likely encountered some poison ivy.

Common Poison Ivy Symptoms

  • Small bumps that quickly turn into blisters where the plant oil touched the skin
  • Severe itching
  • Redness and swelling
  • Blisters that break, ooze fluid and crust over. The fluid in the blisters doesn’t spread the rash.

Can a Poison Ivy Rash Become Serious?

Technically, yes, but it’s rare. Almost all poison ivy cases can be treated at home, and, in fact, if a poison ivy rash is left totally untreated, it will go away on its own in two to three weeks.

Although poison ivy cases are usually treatable at home, serious complications can happen when the rash becomes infected. If this happens, it would require prescribed antibiotics to get rid of the rash. If you experience any of the symptoms we’ve listed below, visit our AFC center or call your doctor ASAP to avoid any further medical complications.

When to Seek Medical Care for Poison Ivy Rash

  • You are experiencing shortness of breath.
  • You are having trouble swallowing.
  • The rash is on your face or genitals.
  • The areas with the rash are swelling.
  • The rash covers a large area of the body.
  • You have inhaled smoke from a burning poison ivy plant.

Dealing with a poison ivy rash? Don’t wait to get the treatment you need—visit our AFC Urgent Care Castle Rock center today!