Poison Ivy Specialist

Kansas City Pediatrics

Pediatrics located in Kansas City, MO

When exposed to poison ivy, your child may have an itchy rash that is difficult to get rid of without specialized treatment. Scott Dattel, MD, FAAP, and the team at Kansas City Pediatrics, located in Kansas City, Missouri, understand this can be frustrating for both of you and can provide your child relief. For compassionate treatment of your child’s rash associated with poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, call or schedule an appointment online today.

Poison Ivy Q & A

What is poison ivy?

Poison ivy is a plant that causes a skin reaction for many children and adults. Not everyone has an allergic reaction after exposure to poison ivy, as some are naturally immune. Others react severely when their skin comes in contact with the plant. 

Poison ivy is quite common and grows wild in the spring, summer, and fall in areas such as:

  • Forests
  • Gardens and flowerbeds
  • Shores of lakes, creeks, and streams
  • Fields and meadows

The poison ivy plant is a vine that has sets of three leaves with a red stem in the center. Typically, the leaves have one larger protrusion on one side, making the leaf asymmetrical. 

What are the symptoms of a poison ivy reaction?

If poison ivy is the cause of your child’s skin rash, they may have symptoms, including:

  • Severe itching
  • Reddened or swollen skin
  • Stripe-shaped rash
  • Fluid-filled blisters, which may ooze

Typically, symptoms appear within several hours to a few days after exposure to the plant. 

How does a poison ivy rash spread?

Oils in the roots, stems, and leaves of plants, such as poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak, cause your child’s skin reaction. Your child may touch the plant directly or may pick up oils from another person or a pet’s fur. 

Once your child has the oils on their hands or skin, it can spread through touch, to anywhere on your child’s body, including the face or genitals. Poison ivy does not spread by contact with the rash itself, as some believe. 

How can I protect my child from poison ivy?

You can help protect your child from poison ivy by learning how to recognize the plant and avoid it, whenever possible. If you know you may be in an area where there may be poison ivy, dress them in protective clothing like long pants and a shirt with sleeves. 

If you know they have or possibly could have come into contact with poison ivy, use warm water and soap to remove the plant oils within 30 minutes of exposure. Encourage them to wash their hands, including under the fingernails, after playing outside or around unknown plants. 

What are the treatments for a poison ivy rash?

If your child reacts to poison ivy, they should see the team at Kansas City Pediatrics for quick, effective relief. 

Their Kansas City Pediatrics practitioner may recommend treating the poison ivy rash with any of the following.

  • Bathing in cool water
  • Applying topical creams
  • Taking an oral steroid

Poison ivy can be incredibly uncomfortable for your child and frustrating for you. A poison ivy rash can last up to three weeks, so early treatment is essential. 

For the treatment of your child’s poison ivy reaction, call or schedule an appointment online with Kansas City Pediatrics.