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Home > Living Well > Health Library > Poison Ivy, Oak, or Sumac: Tips for Washing
If you have contact with poison ivy, oak, or sumac, immediately wash areas of the skin that may have touched the plant. Sometimes the resulting rash (contact dermatitis) can be completely avoided by washing the affected areas.
Scrubbing too hard can irritate the skin. Also, be careful to clean under the fingernails, where the oil can collect and spread easily.
This can prevent the soap from drying your skin and making the rash worse. Use creek or stream water if you are outdoors.
Products like Tecnu and Zanfel can help remove the plant's oil from your skin. A hand cleaner, such as Goop, also may help.
If your pet was in an area where poison ivy, oak, or sumac grows, you may want to wash your pet with water and a mild soap to make sure the oil doesn't spread. For example, you could get the oil on your hands by petting a dog that has urushiol oil on its fur.
The oil from the plant can remain active on clothing and other items for many months, especially in dry climates. If these items are not cleaned properly, handling them can spread the oil to the skin and possibly cause a rash.
Current as of:
November 15, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: November 15, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
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