Poison sumac is one of the trios of plants such as poison ivy and poison oak that causes rash if an individual is allergic to them. Poison sumac releases urushiol which is a substance found in the stems, leaves and fruits when they are damaged or bruised. A severe rash can develop within 24-72 hours. If the rashes spread to the mouth, eyes or genitals, it requires medical care.
Treatment of poison sumac
- Remove clothing immediately and place in a separate container. Wash the contaminated clothes separately from other materials as soon as possible.
- Apply rubbing alcohol on the affected skin to dissolve the poison sumac oil.
- Apply an over-the-counter cleanser on the exposed area.
- Rinse the affected area using cool water. Avoid using warm or hot water to prevent opening of the pores which allows more toxin to enter. Keep the affected area in cold running water for at least 10-15 minutes.
- Clean thoroughly all the affected areas of the body. Use a dish soap that can remove urushiol oil from the skin. Scrub under the fingernails using a toothbrush in case the oil was deposited under the nails. Throw the toothbrush away after use. Pat dry the affected areas using a towel and wash immediately the towel and contaminated clothes after use.
- Avoid scratching the rash to prevent breaking the skin which allows bacteria to enter the wound and cause infections.
- Avoid touching or popping any blisters that develop. Cover the blisters to prevent them from being scratched. Trim the fingernails short.
- Apply cold compresses or an ice pack on the affected area for at least 10-15 minutes. Avoid applying directly on the skin to prevent frostbite. Wrap the packs with a towel or small piece of cloth before placing on the area. If the rashes become wet, let it dry in the air.
- Apply the prescribed topical cream or lotions immediately after contact with the poison sumac relieve the itchiness.
- Take the prescribed antihistamines to lessen the symptoms.
- In a bathtub filled with warm water, mix it with 1 cup oatmeal. Avoid using very hot water to prevent opening of the pores and more bacteria will enter. Soak the affected area in the solution to lessen pain and itching.
- Make a paste by mixing 3 tablespoons of baking soda and a tablespoon water. Mix until it becomes a paste and apply on the blisters. Allow to dry and flake off and reapply every few hours to eliminate the blisters.