Identifying and treating poison ivy

- Dr. Tom Campbell of Highland Family Medicine discussed identifying and treating poison ivy Thursday on News 8 at Sunrise.

Dr. Campbell said remember the phrase, "leaves of three, let it be."  He said for poison ivy there are always three leaves coming from the stem.  The ivy leaf can be green or red on a bush or low to the ground.

If you come into contact with poison ivy, the ivy's oil will cause a rash, which usually develops two to three days after contact.  Dr. Campbell described it as an itching red rash with fluid filled vessels often in a linear pattern.  The oil on the plant can be transmitted by clothes, pets or person to person.  Once the oil is washed off with soap and water, poison ivy and the rash it creates are not contagious.

The goal of treating poison ivy is to reduce the inflammation and itch.  For minor cases over the counter 1 percent Hydrocortisone cream or a stronger steroid cream by prescription should be applied.  Benadryl will help with the itch.  A cool soaking of the area will reduce the itch.  In cases of extensive poison ivy, especially on the face, you should contact your physician.

Dr. Campbell added that you need to be very careful removing poison ivy from your property.  He said it should never be burned. 

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