Medically the evaluation by Alana Biggers, M.D., MPH — composed by Jill Seladi-Schulman, Ph.D. On might 31, 2019

Poison ivy is a tree that can be discovered throughout the united States. The often uncovered in wooded areas.

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Along v plants choose poison oak and poison sumac, poison ivy has an oily sap that’s referred to as urushiol.

Skin contact with urushiol deserve to lead come an allergic reaction identified by a red, itchy rash that might sometimes incorporate blisters.


The reaction to urushiol is a type of allergy reaction called call dermatitis. Anyone deserve to potentially have a reaction come urushiol. But some may be more sensitive or tolerant to it than others.

You’re no born through urushiol sensitivity. However you can become sensitized come it over time.

When you’re an initial exposed to urushiol, her body typically signals her immune mechanism to acknowledge it as an irritant. Your immune device then starts prepare a response to urushiol, have to you it is in exposed again.

When you exposed again, your immune system may use this response, which reasons the properties itchy red rash to occur. This is why part people show up to it is in immune to urushiol as soon as they an initial encounter poison ivy.

There have actually been anecdotal reports of people consuming or working v poison ivy plants in bespeak to develop up yongin to urushiol. However, there’s tiny clinical proof to assistance that you have the right to desensitize yourself to it.


Allergy shots can aid decrease sensitivity in world with specific allergies. This is excellent by giving shots include increasing quantities of a details allergen, with the score of building immunity.

There are at this time no allergy shots easily accessible for urushiol, yet one might be ~ above the horizon.

Scientists are studying the body reaction come urushiol. In 2016, experts identified the immune protein that causes itching in an answer to urushiol. Impede this protein decreased itching in a mouse model, though larger studies involving humans are quiet needed.


Sensitivity come urushiol have the right to increase or to decrease throughout her lifetime.

Remember, everyone has actually the potential to reaction to urushiol. When some people are much less sensitive to it than others, increased exposures can eventually cause them to have a reaction.

You may likewise find the your sensitivity decreases end time. This might be as result of the weakening that the immune device as we age, yet research doesn’t draw any type of firm conclusions.


Is it possible for urushiol to go into your bloodstream and also cause a systemic infection? The quick answer is no. It’s vital to remember the the reaction to poison ivy isn’t an infection. It’s a local allergic reaction.

However, periodically the rash does appear to infect other locations of the body. This have the right to be described in a couple of ways:

If you have urushiol on your hands or under your fingernails, you can spread it to other areas of her body with touch. Also if you’ve washed her hands after initial exposure, you can still re-expose yourself by touching garments or devices that might still have actually urushiol top top them.It might take the rash longer to show up on some areas of the body. Because that example, the soles of her feet naturally have actually thicker skin, for this reason a reaction there might build later 보다 one in one area through thinner skin, such as your wrist.

One way that urushiol can get in the body is with inhalation. This can happen if toxicity ivy plants space burned and you be breathing the smoke. Inhaling urushiol deserve to irritate the nasal passages and lungs, potentially leading to serious breathing difficulties.


There’s no evidence that urushiol can lie dormant within her body and also reactivate later. There space some famous infections, such together herpes simplex, that can do this, however remember: The toxicity ivy reaction is an allergic response, no an infection.

That said, when the characteristic toxicity ivy decision often establishes in a matter of days, in some instances it can take increase to two weeks come appear. This may make it show up as if urushiol lies dormant after ~ exposure, but that’s no the case.

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Urushiol is the component of poison ivy that reasons an itchy, red rash come appear.

Anyone can build a sensitivity to urushiol throughout their lifetime, and also this sensitivity may adjust over time. Yet there’s no means for someone to be completely immune come the impacts of urushiol.


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Medically the review by Alana Biggers, M.D., MPH — written by Jill Seladi-Schulman, Ph.D. On may 31, 2019