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If you have contact with poison ivy, oak, or sumac, immediately wash areas of the skin that may have touched the plant. Sometimes the resulting rash (contact dermatitis) can be completely avoided by washing the affected areas with plenty of water and a mild soap. Use creek or stream water if you are outdoors. By 30 minutes after contact with the plant, most of the oil has been absorbed into your skin.1 But you may still be able to reduce the extent of the rash by washing affected skin up to 2 hours after contact.
Urushiol can remain active on clothing and other items for many months, especially in dry climates. If these items are not cleaned properly, handling them can spread the urushiol to the skin and possibly cause a rash.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||August 30, 2011|
Last Revised: August 30, 2011
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