Frequently Asked Questions
Poison oak & poison ivy questions answered…
Alright outdoor adventurers, it's that time of year again! Time
to brush up on your knowledge of all things outdoors as we gear up
for yet another sunny season! Are you equipped with all of the
essential information about Mother Nature's most common poison
plants: poison oak, poison ivy, & poison sumac? As the trusted
name in poison oak and ivy for over 50 years, we recommend that you
the plants look like, what to do if you think you've been
exposed, and how to treat a rash if it appears! Read through the
most frequently asked questions below, study up, and hit the trails
worry free this spring and summer!
Most commonly asked questions:
Q: How does poison ivy work?
A: When you come into contact with the poison
oil (urushiol) from poison oak or poison ivy plants, an allergic
reaction can occur. This reaction is known as allergic contact
dermatitis (irritation of the skin) basically, a skin irritation
caused by direct contact with an allergen. Approximately 3 out of 4
people are sensitive to urushiol.
Q: How does poison ivy spread?
A: Spreading of the rash is typically caused by
continued contact with urushiol. Because urushiol does not
evaporate, it can remain on items such as gardening tools,
clothing, equipment, etc. for months, even years. Tecnu Original Outdoor Skin
Cleanser can be used to remove urushiol from these items as
well as skin and even your pets!
Q: I've never had poison oak or poison ivy
before, can I get it now?
A: Yes, you can begin getting poison ivy or oak
rash at any time during your life. Three out of four people
are sensitive to poison oak and ivy. Sensitivity is just a
matter of being exposed enough times until the body becomes
allergic to the poison oil (urushiol). The rash can begin
within a few hours after contact, or it can start three to five
Q: What should I do if I've been, or think I've
been exposed to poison ivy, oak, or sumac?
A: After exposure or suspected exposure it is
best to wash with Tecnu
Original Outdoor Skin Cleanser or Tecnu Extreme
Medicated Poison Ivy Scrub within 2-8 hours. The sooner, the
Q: Will the liquid from the blisters cause the
rash to spread?
A: No, not if the oil has been removed from the
skin. The blisters are the body's natural allergic reaction
to the initial contact with the urushiol oil. The only thing
that causes the rash is contact with urushiol oil. The oozing
from the blisters does not spread the rash.
Q: How long will a poison ivy rash last?
A: Mild cases of poison oak or poison ivy can
last five to 12 days. More severe cases can last 30 days or longer.
The length of a rash can vary from person to person and depends
upon a person's sensitivity to the plant, amount of exposure, and
how many times they've come into contact with plant in the
Q: How can I treat the itching and burning of
my poison ivy, oak, or sumac rash?
A: Luckily, Tec Labs has a few products you can
choose from to treat the itching and irritation of your rash. For
which Tecnu® brand product to use, check out this infographic.
It pays to be prepared! Don't let a rash from poison ivy, oak,
or sumac ruin your next adventure, brush up on your poison plant
knowledge, and always have your Tecnu products handy!
Live life. Get outdoors!™