Slide show: Poison ivy and other summer skin irritants
Photo of poison ivy plant and rash
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Can you recognize the most common summer skin irritants?

Poison ivy grows as vines or low shrubs in most climates. Each leaf on a poison ivy plant has three smaller leaflets. Contact with any part of the poison ivy plant can cause red, swollen skin, blisters and severe itching, sometimes within hours after exposure.

A poison ivy rash usually resolves on its own within a few weeks. In the meantime, control itching with an over-the-counter anti-itch cream, such as calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. Oatmeal baths and cool compresses also might be helpful. Consult your doctor if you have a severe poison ivy rash or if the rash involves your eyes, face or genital area.

Poison oak and poison sumac cause a similar rash.

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