You probably won't need medical treatment for a poison ivy rash unless the rash persists for more than a few weeks or if you think you the rash has become infected. If you're concerned, you'll probably first see your primary care physician. However, he or she might refer you to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders (dermatologist).
What you can do
Before your appointment, you may want to write a list of all the medications and supplements you take and a list of questions for your doctor. Examples include:
- How long will this rash last?
- Is it OK to scratch?
- Will scratching spread the rash?
- Will popping the blisters spread the rash?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What can I do to help control the itching?
- How can I prevent this in the future?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
Aug. 29, 2012
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have you had a similar rash in the past?
- Have you spent time outdoors recently?
- What treatment steps have you already tried?
- Auerbach PS. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa. Elsevier Mosby: 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1678-8..00063-5--s0055&isbn=978-1-4377-1678-8&uniqId=343851441-3#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1678-8..00063-5--s0055. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- Prok L, et al. Poison ivy (Toxicodendron) dermatitis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- Poisonous plants. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/plants. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- Outsmarting poison ivy and other poisonous plants. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm049342.htm. Accessed July 3, 2012.