Getting a poison oak rash can happen to anyone. They develop on your skin when you get exposed to the poison oak, a plant that usually grows as vines, shrubs or bushes in mountainous areas.

The poison oak is the most common cause of allergic reactions in the United States, based on the web site of the University of Iowa (UI) Health Care.

What Exactly is a Poison Oak Rash?

Specifically, a poison oak rash is an allergic skin reaction to urushiol, the oil that is found in poison oak. The plant’s stems, roots, leaves and berries contain this oil.

Your body can directly come in contact with urushiol if you do any of the following:

  1. Stroking any part of the plant
  2. Touching clothing or other items that have been exposed to the plants
  3. Touching the fur of your pets or those animals which have made contact with poison oak’s oil
  4. Inhaling the smoke of burning poison oak plants

Once the oil penetrates your skin, it induces an irritating, itching rash on your skin. This usually occurs within 12 to 48 hours or in some cases, within one to three days.

The poison oak allergy may affect any part of your body that has contacted its infectious oil. It usually appears in thin-skinned areas such as the face.

The rash commonly begins as a red line, then later on appears as breakouts or inflammations (small red bumps) on your skin. Later on, it develops into blisters of different sizes, which may ooze or form crusts. It may also appear in streaks across the skin or may seem to have some sort of pattern or shape. Poison oak blisters are most often accompanied by severe itching.

Keep in mind that the rash does not spread by itself. It only infects other parts of the body upon additional exposure to urushiol, which may remain active on hands, clothing, shoes and other household tools for many months.

Cure for Poison Oak Rashes

According to, popular medications for poison oak remedy include:

  • Topical corticosteroid creams, which may help alleviate the inflammatory symptoms.
  • Oral corticosteroid medications, which are usually prescribed by doctors to treat severe poison oak allergies.
  • Prescription antihistamines, which provide poison oak relief and help you to go about your normal daily activities.
  • Antibiotics, which may be needed in case your rash incurs further infection.

UI Health Care suggests that you contact your doctor in cases where: the rash has become so severe on the face or genitals; it affects more than 20 per cent of your body; you are experiencing difficulty breathing; the rash has been infected; and when you are down with a fever, headache and other similar symptoms.

Once you got infected with poison oak rashes, the important thing is to stay calm and never panic. There are poison oak treatments that you can use if necessary. Otherwise, you can just let the rash naturally heal within 10 days to 2 weeks.

Thank you for reading Poison Oak Rash Know-How!.

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