West Houston Dermatology

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Poison Ivy and Contact Dermatitis

Summertime is in full swing, and many Houston area kids are off to summer camp or participating in outdoor activities.  Though this is a fun time for families, unfortunately it’s also prime time for contact dermatitis.  Poison ivy is the most common causes of skin rash for children.  After exposure to poison ivy there is an allergic reaction in the skin in the form of an itchy red rash with bumps or blisters.  The rash itself is caused by contact with the resin from the plant.  The rash from poison ivy is not spread from person to person or by oozing from the blisters.  However, the oil from poison ivy can remain on clothing and other objects if not cleaned, which can cause additional cases of the rash.  As usual, your mother’s advice of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure remains true.  Teach your camper how to identify poison ivy so they can avoid it.  Just remember – “Leaves of three, let them be.”  Poison ivy is not serious and there are generally no complications from the rash, but it can be very annoying.  Encourage your child not to scratch the rash because this could cause a skin infection.  If your child’s poison ivy rash does not improve within two weeks, then you should seek help from your dermatologist to make sure it is nothing more serious.  If your camper comes home with a rash, contact Dr. Mahoney at West Houston Dermatology.