Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Allergies

Dr. Ayush PandeyMBBS,PG Diploma

December 24, 2018

March 06, 2020

Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Allergies
Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Allergies

What are poison ivy, oak, and sumac allergies?

Poison ivy, oak, and sumac are plants that have a constituent called urushiol in all parts, namely the leaves, roots, and stems. The allergic reactions of the skin that develop due to direct or indirect contact with these plants or their parts are called poison ivy, oak, and sumac allergies. The dead plant also has the capability to cause an allergy. The allergic reaction appears within hours to five days following contact with urushiol.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

The signs and symptoms are similar to any other skin allergy and include the following:

What are the main causes?

These allergies may be caused due to direct or an indirect contact. Direct contact involves exposure of the skin to the plant or any of the plant parts. Indirect contact involves touching materials that were previously in contact with this plant, e.g., camping materials, gardening tools, and even animal fur.

Inhalation of urushiol while burning the plant or plant parts may affect the nasal passage, lungs, and throat.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

The dermatologist diagnoses this allergic reaction by physical examination of the skin and affected areas and starts the therapy. Prescription medicines like antibiotics and prednisone are prescribed. Topical steroidal creams are prescribed for application on the affected areas. Antibiotics are given to avoid and manage infections that can occur over an allergic rash

These allergies can be prevented by:

  • Wearing clothes that cover your body completely like full sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Removing these plants if they grow in your garden.
  • Washing the skin surface and clothes thoroughly in case of contact with these plants or their parts.
  • Applying skin creams and lotions to lower the risk of developing a rash.


  1. American Academy of Dermatology. Rosemont (IL), US; Poison ivy, oak, and sumac.
  2. Cleveland Clinic. [Internet]. Cleveland, Ohio. Poison Plants: Poison Ivy, Poison Oak & Poison Sumac.
  3. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Poison ivy - oak - sumac rash.
  4. Texas Department of Insurance [Internet]. Texas; Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac.
  5. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Poisonous Plants.

Medicines for Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Allergies

Medicines listed below are available for Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Allergies. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.