Blisters form as part of the body's immune response to poison ivy and oak and are part of the healing process. Bacteria from under the nails can penetrate them and cause an infection. Rashes, blisters, and itching usually go away in several weeks without any treatment. As we enter the best months for poison ivy problems, let's take a few minutes to learn how skin reacts to it.
Poison ivy (and poison sumac and oak) are infected by coming in contact with a plant oil called urushiol. Oil is in all parts of the plant (leaves, stems, and even roots), so there's no place to handle poison ivy safely. Usually, within 12 to 72 hours of coming into contact with urushiol, you will begin to see a rash. Although poison ivy rash itself does not spread and is not contagious, if other parts of the skin come in contact with the oil, a new rash will develop.
As the rash blooms, you may experience itching, redness, swelling, blistering, and crusting of the skin (after the blisters burst). Any poison ivy blisters that have formed will certainly burn and itch, but it's important to resist the temptation to scratch. If you've washed well, the itchy blisters may not cause the rash to spread, but it can cause them to come out. A burst blister can easily get infected.
Infections can turn your controllable condition into something that may require medical attention. While creams should be avoided, oral antihistamine pills such as Claritin or Benadryl are OK. Provides temporary relief by blocking histamines released by the body in response to the allergen. Allergic contact dermatitis following exposure to urushiol is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction.
Symptoms usually appear 12 to 48 hours after exposure, starting with itching, followed by a red rash. There may be swelling and vesicles, which can rupture and drain serous fluid. Blisters and rash usually appear in streaks, where the plant came into contact with the skin. After about a week, the reaction enters a subacute phase and the blisters begin to dry out.
Severe itching is experienced throughout the reaction, making it difficult to sleep. Blisters crust and rash goes away in 2 to 3 weeks. The rash will go away without treatment, but it can be very itchy until it goes away completely. If you scratch a poison ivy rash, bacteria under your nails can cause skin to become infected.
You should also be careful to avoid scratching any itching, which can spread the rash, and especially not to pop poison ivy blisters, which can cause infection. The only way to develop a case of poison ivy is through direct contact with the plant or by touching a fomite, such as clothing or gardening tools, that has been contaminated with urushiol. Poison ivy blisters are best treated by thoroughly washing the body to remove any traces of the allergen, urushiol. But botanists have never documented poison oak and poison sumac growing in the state of Iowa, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
If you are working in the garden near your property where poison ivy can grow, protect your skin by wearing long sleeves, pants, boots and gloves. Use Tecnu Original to wash oil and prevent poison ivy rash and secondary contact blisters. Wash everything else that may have been in contact with poison ivy oil, clothing, pets, tools, door handles, and any other hard surface. However, the liquid is not and does not have urushiol, which is the oily toxin that comes from poison ivy and its family.
If you have symptoms of a severe poison ivy rash, go to an urgent care center or emergency room for treatment. Prevent pets from running through wooded areas so that irritating poison ivy oil doesn't stick to their fur. The best thing to do to prevent skin reactions, such as poison ivy rash and blisters, is to avoid plants. Since then, I started spreading poison ivy solutions that it makes in oil on my keyboard, mouse and desk at work.