July 2013 Newsletter
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Itching to play outside

It is the season when adults and kids enjoy spending time outside, gardening, playing sports, hiking, and relaxing. Don’t let poison ivy, oak, or sumac skin ruin your fun.

The oils in these plants cause an allergic reaction in skin. Blisters and intense itching usually occur within 3 days after contact. There’s an old myth that the rash expands from fluid in blisters. In reality, it spreads from bits of oil under fingernails, or on clothing, other parts of the body, or a pet’s fur.

Keep contact dermatitis from plants at bay:

Learn to identify poison ivy’s three-leafed vine, the poison oak shrub, and bushy sumac.
Be alert for these plants when you are outdoors and avoid them
If you come in contact with rash-causing plants, wash skin with soap and water very thoroughly. Launder clothing promptly.
Apply calamine lotion to eruptions several times a day and try not to scratch – it could lead to infection and scarring. Staying cool helps the itch and hydrocortisone cream decreases inflammation.

See your dermatologist if the rash is severe, doesn’t respond to treatment within a few days, or you have any symptoms other than itching and blisters.
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