Help! I Touched Poison Ivy! – Advice from Your Board-Certified Dermatologists
What Should You Do If You Touch Poison Ivy?
- Wash your skin with lukewarm, soapy water, including under your nails.
- Apply cool compresses.
- Wash your clothing.
Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac contain an oil called urushiol. If you are allergic to this oil, you can develop a rash.
The Rash Is Not Contagious
If someone has this rash, touching that rash won’t cause a rash on your skin. However, you can develop a rash if you touch that person’s skin or clothing (or a pet’s fur!) while the oil from the plant is still on it.
If you wash the oil off within 10-20 minutes after exposure, you may be able to prevent the rash entirely, or, at a minimum, reduce the severity of it. That is why it’s important to wash your skin and clothing quickly after contact.