"Individuals can be allergic to poison ivy by virtue of having the rash -- that is an allergic reaction," says Dr. Mark Flanzenbaum, M.D., FAAP of KidMed.
There's about 10 to 15 percent of the population that does not react to poison ivy, but you can be allergic to the plant.
If you think your child got into poison ivy, the first thing to do is to try to prevent it from causing the rash. Within the first few hours, 30 minutes to 2-hours or so, wash vigorously with soap and water, or there are some products over the counter. "Something called, Zanfel, is one of them," says Dr. Flanzenbaum. "It'll actually rinse the oils off and, for the most part, prevent the rash."
"What you have to remember though is those oils that are from the plant can stay under your fingertips for quite a while, so they can spread it that way," says Dr. Flanzenbaum. "But remarkably, they can actually stay on things like tools for up to a years or so. So you got to make sure that you are aware to get all those things cleaned."
Poison ivy is pretty benign. "I think most people have had it themselves, or have had somebody that had it," says Dr. Flanzenbaum. "If it's extensive, where it is everywhere and your child cannot get comfortable, despite doing standard things as far as itch relief and, and whatnot, or if it's poison ivy in the eyes, in the mouth, on the genital area, that's a time they should be seen."
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