One really common cause of contact dermatitis is poison ivy, a plant that grows in woody areas. Poison oak and poison sumac are other plants that can give you a rash, too. They all have an oil in them called urushiol, to which most people are allergic. You can get the rash from:
- Touching the weed.
- Touching something that rubbed up against the plant (like petting your dog after he brushed up against it).
- Even from being near it, because the oil can get in the air.
As soon as you think you might have a rash from one of these plants, you should:
- Rinse the skin right away with lukewarm water.
- Wash your clothes and anything else you might have touched.
The rash will go away in a few weeks. Until then, here's what you can do:
- Take a cool shower.
- Take an oatmeal bath. Your parents can buy a special product at the store that has oatmeal in it for the bath.
- Spread on a special anti-itch cream called hydrocortisone.
- Swab on calamine lotion.
If nothing seems to help, have your mom or dad take you to a skin doctor (dermatologist).
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Photos used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.