Nearly all of us are advised as children to avoid poison ivy and poison oak plants, exposure to which can cause blistering, itchy rashes. Contact with a secretion of allergenic oil or sap triggers an allergic reaction in the skin known as “allergic contact dermatitis,” which can appear within two to ten days of exposure. While poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are most recognized as causing this problem, there are other plants with the same potential. These include flowers such as marigolds, chrysanthemums, poinsettias, and philodendrons, as well as the leaves of tomato plants. While the allergic reaction will usually resolve within ten days, the dermatologist can prescribe topical steroids to help with the itching and burning sensations.

Skin allergies can take several forms and are due to various causes. If you think you may have a skin allergy, seek medical advice for diagnosis and treatment. For additional information about today’s column, call ELMHURST DERMATOLOGY at 630-832-2111. We provide all full breadth of dermatological services and most insurance plans are accepted. Our office is conveniently located at 103 N. Haven Suite. We are accepting new patients. We strive to provide the highest care to our patients.

Todd T. Davis, MD
Board Certified Dermatologist

P.S. If you wash immediately with soap and water, it is possible to rid yourself of the oil of poisonous plants. After 10-15 minutes, half of the oil will come off; after an hour, none will come off.