Treatment and Prevention Tips on Poison Ivy


Dr. Michael Gabriel, a Staten Island pediatrician, provides advice on how to avoid poison ivy plants and treat or prevent rashes.

According to an article published by, poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac all contain the same oily substance that causes rashes: urushiol. Recognizing oily plants during different parts of the year is important because they can look different depending on the season. Poison ivy can often be red during the spring, green during the summer, and brown during the fall.

An allergic reaction to poisonous plants occurs for 60 to 80 percent of people within hours, or as late as 5 days after coming in contact with a plant. Poison ivy can often be prevented, according to the article. Avoiding areas where poison ivy is present is the key way to prevent poison ivy rashes, along with learning to identify plants and wearing proper clothing when engaging in outdoor activity.

Dr. Michael Gabriel of GPM Pediatricsa Staten Island pediatrics center, says that poison ivy season is in full swing. "Poison ivy can be very dangerous for children, especially because they have very sensitive skin. I advise parents to teach their children how to identify poisonous plants and the risks associated with them," he says, and he urges parents to have their children shower after outdoor activity near plants but not to give baths. "Giving a bath can spread the oils around the tub and can make the condition worse."

Dr. Gabriel says that once poison ivy is contracted, it is very difficult to get rid of and can be uncomfortable. "Calmine lotion is popular but has mixed results. If the condition gets severe for your child, you must contact your local pediatrician to get the proper treatment," Gabriel explains. "Be aware of any outdoor pets that your family has as well. Dogs often rub up against poison ivy and the oils can transfer to your kids."


Source: GPM Pediatrics