AfterOurs Clinics - Colorado
AfterOurs Clinics - Colorado

Plant Dermatitis (Poison Ivy)

Poison Oak with Skin Rash

Poison Ivy is known for its toxic nature as it produces a rash known as contact dermatitis. Poison ivy contains a chemical called urushiol which is an irritant that comes in contact with skin and ultimately causes contact dermatitis. Red lines appear on the skin when exposed to poison ivy.

What is plant dermatitis?

Plant dermatitis is also known as phytodermatitis. This is a kind of skin rash, which is caused by different plants species like poison ivy. Toxicodendron plants, which include poison ivy and poison oak, are prevalent causes allergic dermatitis in children.


Contact with poison ivy can cause itching, redness, painful blisters, and swelling.

Rashes may take about 12 hours to appear and may take a few days to develop fully. The amount of urushiol on the skin influences the severity of plant dermatitis.


If you know that you have touched poison ivy, then you typically do not need to see a medical provider. If you decide to visit a provider, that person can usually diagnose contact dermatitis from poison ivy by looking at it, no tests are required.

Tests may be required when you are not sure about poison ivy rash. Common skin conditions such psoriasis can be confused with poison ivy rash.


You can treat poison ivy rash at home. There is no cure, but if left untreated it will vanish in two to three weeks on its own.

If you are facing shortness of breath, trouble swallowing, rash on your genitals or face, swelling in the rash area or a very large area of rash then you may need to go to the emergency room.

A corticosteroid prescription is required for a patient with widespread poison ivy rash. If the rash is combined with a bacterial infection, then you can be treated with antibiotics.

Management at home

Some home remedies can be used to reduce itching and irritation:

  • Menthol cream or calamine lotion: has a cooling effect that relieves itching
  • Aloe vera and colloidal oatmeal: both help relieve itching
  • Cool compresses: may reduce inflammation and discomfort
  • Oral antihistamines:  do not directly help with itching, but may help with sleep

Poison ivy is not contagious in nature, but the oils on the skin can be spread to another person, or even pet, through direct contact.

Contact us

In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.

When to visit a doctor:
If you have come in contact with poison ivy and symptoms have started to appear, you should see a medical provider in order to avoid possible serious complications.

Treatment for dermatitis caused by poison ivy is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.

For more information on plant dermatitis, see the following website: