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Is poison ivy rash contagious?

Is poison ivy rash contagious?

Last Reviewed : 12/25/2020
Is poison ivy rash contagious?

Poison ivy rash is caused by an allergic reaction to an oily resin called urushiol. Urushiol, on the other hand, is present in the leaves, stems and roots of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac plants. Washing the oil will reduce the chances of getting a rash. Not only the leaves, stems and roots of poison ivy plant, any piece of clothing, pet or article that has urushiol on it will cause a rash to spread out. The oil on the body can spread to other parts with the fingers. The reaction develops within 12-24 hours. The severity of rash depends on amount of oil that gets on to the skin. Note that the blister fluid does not spread the rash.

Symptoms of Poison Ivy Rash

Its symptoms are listed below:

  1. Redness
  2. Itching
  3. Swelling
  4. Blisters
  5. Inhaling the burning plant smoke causes difficulty in breathing.

Symptoms generally last for two to three weeks. Also, secondary bacterial infection sets in if you scratch the skin with your fingers and nails.

How Do People Get Infected?

A poison ivy rash by itself is not contagious as the blister fluid does not contain urushiol. It cannot spread from person to person. For example, if a person has a poison ivy rash on their hands or arms and shakes the hand or touches another person, the person without poison ivy won’t contract it. In a similar vein, if a person has a poison ivy rash, it will not spread to other parts of the body unless and until they come in contact with the oil – urushiol as the blister fluid does not contain the oil.

Final Words

While poison ivy rash cannot easily spread across your body, the chances are that it can get worse with each passing day. This spread is only possible if certain parts of the skin come into contact with urushiol. In some severe cases, the rash spreads to eyes, mouths, genitals, etc. With that said, symptoms appear 3 days after exposure to the oil and will last for about 2-3 weeks. The sign is usually a red rash where the skin has made contact with the oil – other signs have been listed earlier. To conclude, poison ivy rash is not contagious. It does not spread from person to person. Nevertheless, you may contact a dermatologist for professional diagnosis and treatment if you suspect that you have it.

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