Health Watch - Itching: Poison Ivy

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about itchy skin. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you may come into contact with a major cause of itching: poison ivy.

Dr. Amit Pandya, a dermatologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says poison ivy grows just about everywhere, and it remains a problem until the first frost of the year. If you do run into poison ivy, wash your skin and affected clothing with soap immediately to stop the rash from spreading or infecting others. Use cold compresses to ease the swelling, itching and pain. Over-the-counter creams and antihistamines may also help. In more severe cases, you may need to see a doctor for prescription medication. Once you’ve been affected by poison ivy, try to avoid future exposure because the rash will appear faster and be even worse. Avoid exposure by wearing long sleeves and long pants when you’re in the woods, and learn to recognize the plant.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/dermatology to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in dermatology.

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August 2009


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