I was camping last weekend at Jester Park and took a hike through the woods. A couple of days later, an itchy rash and blisters showed up on my leg. I’ve hiked in the woods numerous times and have never gotten a rash before. Is this caused by poison ivy or poison oak?
Poison oak does not grow in Iowa, so undoubtedly you were exposed to poison ivy. Poison ivy and poison oak both produce a poisonous, oily irritant called urushiol (oo-roo-she-all) on the plant’s stem, roots, branches and leaves. Sometimes it takes numerous exposures to the oil before you finally react and become allergic to it. This oil can also remain on clothing, tools, and animal fur for up to a year or longer unless you clean them. You can still get a rash from this oil! Once exposed to the oil, it usually takes 1-3 days before a rash will appear. If the blisters break and ooze, the fluid does not contain the oil that causes the rash in the first place. There are several products on the market to help prevent and relieve symptoms of poison ivy. I’ve had good success with a product called, Tecnu, which helps remove the oil from your skin after being exposed to poison ivy. For more information about poison ivy, visit poisonivy.aesir.com.