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Contact dermatitis occurs when skin comes in contact with an allergen. An allergen is a protein that a person’s body recognizes as foreign and mounts an immune response against it. On the skin this manifests as a red, itchy rash.
Contact with the oil of certain plants containing allergens, such as poison ivy and poison oak, can cause an allergic skin reaction. Outdoor workers are most at risk for coming in contact with poisonous plants, but anyone is at risk when the plants are in bloom, including pet owners.
Many cases of contact dermatitis occur in the summer months due to the increased risk of coming in contact with poison ivy or poison oak. Other substances that can cause contact dermatitis include soap, perfume, jewelry, and clothing.
Following first aid steps after coming in contact with a poisonous plant can reduce your chances of your skin reacting to it.
When To Seek Medical Help
Contact dermatitis can usually be self-treated and will go away on its own. In severe cases, however, medical attention is necessary. Contact your Premier Health physician if
Immediate medical care should be taken if you have any of the following symptoms:
There are very effective treatments at our offices, so if you have severe symptoms, please make an appointment to see us. We are available 7 days a week.
For more information on poison ivy, poison oak, or other plants that can cause contact dermatitis, please visit the CDC’s webpage.