Poison ivy, oak, and sumac

  poison-ivy-landing.jpg
Rash from poison ivy. Many people develop an itchy rash that causes lines or streaks that look like this.

Poison ivy, oak and sumac: Overview

Many people get a rash from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. This rash is caused by an oil found in the plants. This oil is called urushiol (you-ROO-shee-all).

The itchy, blistering rash often does not start until 12 to 72 hours after you come into contact with the oil.

The rash is not contagious and does not spread. It might seem to spread, but this is a delayed reaction.

Most people see the rash go away in a few weeks.  If you have a serious reaction, you need to see a doctor right away. Swelling is a sign of a serious reaction — especially swelling that makes an eye swell shut or your face to swell.

If you have trouble breathing or swallowing, go to an emergency room immediately.


Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.


© 2019 American Academy of Dermatology. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication strictly prohibited without prior written permission. Use of these materials is subject to the legal notice and terms of use located at https://www.aad.org/about/legal

Our Locations

Find us on the map

Shenandoah Dermatology


1600 N Coalter St #19
Staunton, VA 24401

10950 Rockfish Valley Highway, Suite C
Afton, VA 22920

45 Commerce Park Drive
Raphine, VA 24472

16 Ivy Ridge Lane, Suite 138
Fishersville, VA 22939

400 S Magnolia Ave
Waynesboro, VA 22980

  • "The staff was extremely efficient and friendly in a lovely and accessible location. They were remarkable in fitting appointments into my busy schedule. They represent a great team under positive leadership."
    A patient from Harrisonburg, VA