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See previous questions and answers below:

Seek medical attention for your poison ivy rash if:

1.) You rash has lasted longer than 2 weeks

2.) Over-the-counter treatments have not helped to improve your symptoms

3.) You inhale the smoke from burning poison ivy (or, oak, sumac) plants

4.) You experience severe swelling or have trouble breathing

In a sense, yes. poison ivy (or, oak) rash will heal on its own. Poison ivy rash cannot be "cured", but you can treat the symptoms of a rash (redness, itching, swelling, blisters) with over-the-counter (OTC) treatments such as Calagel Medicated Anti-Itch Gel and Tecnu Rash Relief Spray. However, for a rash lasting 10-14 days or longer with little to no improvement using OTC's, we recommend contacting your physician.

Poison oak and ivy rash can be tricky! There are a couple of reasons why your rash appears to be spreading: 1.) Different areas of the body absorb the rash-causing resin (urushiol) at different rates; so, you may notice one area of your body breaking out, and another spot show up a day or two later 2.) You are coming into contact with urushiol from an unexpected source such as clothing, tools, steering wheel, even your pet. To learn more about secondary contamination & how to avoid it, click here.

If you have had the rash for a while and it is not spreading, then you may have already removed the plant's rash causing oil, urushiol. After showering for many days, your soap may have finally removed any oils that are not bonded with your skin. The rash is your body's reaction to this bond. If your rash is spreading then you may want to use one of our cleansers.

The purpose of the Tecnu Original Cleanser is to remove urushiol, but it does not include any anti-itch medication. Again, if your rash is not spreading, this product won't do anything for you at this point. 

Other products we make that will help with itching and oozing but do not contain a cleanser to remove rash causing oil are Tecnu Rash Relief Spray or Calagel - your preference here depends on whether you like a calamine-type anti-itch medication (Calagel) or a homeopathic anti-itch remedy (Tecnu Rash Relief Spray).  If you have had some success with tea tree and your rash is not spreading, I would recommend trying Tecnu Rash Relief Spray.

Blisters can form as part of your body's natural reaction to the resin (urushiol) from poison ivy and oak plants. A rash can last anywhere from 1-2 weeks, or up to 30+ days in more severe cases. It is best not to pop the blisters to avoid a potential infection, and let them run their course naturally. If you've had an active rash for 2 weeks with little to no success with over the counter treatments, we recommend contacting your physician.

Urushiol, the plants oil, is a residue that can stay on tools for years. Even if you haven't use them for a year, cleaning the tools that have come in contact with the plants with Tecnu Original is a good idea.

If it is indeed poison ivy rash that is spreading, it sounds like you are coming in contact with the plant's oil still. How did you get the rash? Could the rash-causing oil (urushiol) be on gardening tools or gloves? Do you have a pet? Sometimes the oil will sit on your dog or cat's fur and you keep getting it from them. Could it be on the steering wheel of your car? Try to see if you can find the point of contact with the plant oil so it can be washed off and end your cycle. Tecnu Original cleanser can be used to remove the oil from these items if that may help.

See also some common questions about poison ivy and how you get the rash.

Yes, blistering and oozing are common reactions to poison oak and ivy rash during the healing process.

None of Tec Labs' raw materials are derived from animal products.

Clothing, pets, anything you have come in contact with before cleansing your skin with Tecnu.  Remember that urushiol oil does not evaporate or disappear and may stay on the surface of these items. You can use Tecnu to clean them as well.  See How to use Tecnu.

Tecnu Original Outdoor Sklin Cleanser is most effective when used within the first 2 - 8 hours.

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.

Over the counter topical anti-itch products such as Calagel may provide relief.

You can cover loosely with a sterile bandage. Change frequently. Taking a cool shower may also help control oozing. When you cool the skin the vessels constrict and don't leak as much.

Anything that you can do to dry up the rash is going to benefit you the most.  Oxygen is helpful to healing the wound.  If you cover the rash with a sterile bandage cover loosely to allow healing oxygen to reach the surface of the skin.  It is important to keep the rash very clean; changing sterile bandages frequently reduces the risk of infection.

Yes, you can begin getting poison ivy or oak rash at any time during your life.  Three out of four people are senstive 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 days later.

The blisters are the body's natural allergic reaction to contact with the poisonous plants.  The blisters do not cause the rash to spread.  You should never break the blisters.  An open blister can easily become infected and lead to blood poisoning.  If the blisters break, cover loosely with a sterile bandage.   In severe cases contact your doctor.

No, You must have direct contact with the urushiol oil in order to have a reaction.  It is highly unlikely for you to get the rash from wind blowing on the plant.

No.  The poison oil remains toxic and does not evaporate.  All parts of the living or dead poison plants, including the roots, flowers, or berries, contain the urushiol oil.  Be especially careful of dead vines on firewood and leafless vines in the winter.

Urushiol is a substance in every fiber of the poison oak/ivy/sumac plants that causes the rash. When it gets on the skin, it binds with the proteins in the skin after about 10 minutes & becomes very difficult to get off.

Urushiol does not evaporate and can remain active for years after being picked up on tools, clothing, animal fur, etc.

Yes, be careful, because you can get the rash from your pets.  Since the animals' fur protects their skin from the oil, they won't get the rash.  However, the oil will remain on their fur and will contaminate you when you touch them.  You can use Tecnu to bathe animals. Apply Tecnu to dry fur, rub in, and fully rinse.

Bleach may appear to be a quick fix to poison oak or ivy.  However, bleach removes the top layer(s) of your skin.  Using it can irritate your skin and in the process weaken it so that the rash may become worse.  Your skin may then become more susceptible to getting the rash in the future.

The rash is a reaction to the initial contact with the urushiol oil, the rash cannot pass from person to person.  You can't spread the poison ivy rash by coming into contact with a person who has it, unless that person has urushiol on their skin.  You can, however, pick it up by touching a pet that has gotton the poison ivy or oak on its fur or by touching garden tools or clothes that have come in contact with the plant.

Yes. If the plant is burned in an open fire, it is possible to get poison oak or ivy systemically by breathing the smoke of burning poison oak or ivy.  If you think you have poison oak/ivy systemically, see your doctor; this can be a fatal condition.  In some states it is illegal to burn poison oak/ivy.  NEVER BURN IT!

Urushiol absorbs into the skin at different rates on different parts of the body.  Your wrists may break out a day or two earlier than your forearm breaks out.  It is normal and doesn't mean you have been exposed to the urushiol again.

You can either pull the plants out of the ground, or head to your local home and garden center where a store employee can recommend the best weed-killer to eradicate poison oak and ivy plants. If you choose to pull the plants out yourself, there are a few tips we recommend following: 1.) Wear long sleeves and pants as well as gloves, 2.) Place a grocery bag (or any plastic bag) around the plant and pull with the bag, tie and dispose, 3.) Be sure to thoroughly wash after with a cleanser that can remove the rash-causing oil, urushiol; either Tecnu Original or Tecnu Extreme will do the trick, 4.) Last but not least, be sure to wash the clothing you were wearing in warm/hot water, through two cycles in the washing machine with a heavy-duty detergent such as Tide®.

Unfortunately, we are uncertain of the affects consuming poison oak or ivy would have on your dog. We recommend contacting your veterinarian.

For the initial wash with Tecnu after exposure to poison oak or poison ivy, it is best to use cold water. Hot water opens the pores, which can allow the urushiol to penetrate deeper, possibly increasing your chances of developing a rash.

You are looking for a poison ivy barrier product, which we do not currently make. If you have been (or, think you may have been) exposed to poison oak or poison ivy plants, washing with a cleanser designed to remove urushiol (rash-causing oil from the plants) within 8 hours after exposure can help remove the resin before a rash begins. Such cleansers include Tecnu Original and Tecnu Extreme.

If the urushiol (rash-causing oil) has not yet absorbed fully into your skin, and you are not using a cleanser to remove urushiol from the skin's surface, it is possible to spread the oil to other areas of the body. After contact with poison oak or ivy plants, it is best to wash as soon as possible with a cleanser designed to remove urushiol such as Tecnu Original or Tecnu Extreme.

Because they can both grow as bushes or climb trees, sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between poison ivy and poison oak. They both result in the same itchy rash, so as long as you are wary of "leaves of three" you may avoid contact with them.

We have compiled descriptions of poison oak, ivy and sumac with a variety of images from different seasons to help. You can find them on our Poison Plant Identification page.

Martha: Yes, poison ivy will bloom tiny white flowers before they turn into berries. The berries range from grayish to white in color. Click here for a more detailed description, and to see what poison ivy looks like.

Poison ivy can grow as ground cover, a shrub, or climbing vine. A climbing vine can potentially grow up the full length of the tree it is attached to.

Yes, in the sense that poison oak can grow in different forms such as a vine, shrub, or ground cover. For more help with plant identification, click here.

If the rash-causing oil, urushiol, has not been removed from the skin, you can spread the oil to another person. If you hvave already developed the rash, likely, the oil has been completely absorbed. Also, contrary to popular belief, the liquid that oozes from the blisters of a poison oak or poison ivy rash, will not cause spreading.

Most likely, no. However, if any of the leaves have fallen onto the deck/chairs in previous seasons, the oil may be on those items, leading to secondary contamination. That would be the most likely cause for a person to develop a rash in this case. If so, you may consider wiping down the furniture with Tecnu (after spot checking first for color-fastness). It is our understanding that burning the plant is the only way the oils can be airborne.

While poison ivy typically grows in leaf clusters of 3, on occasion, leaves can grow in clusters of 5 or 7.

Urushiol oil has a slight yellowish green tint to it. But, only when there is a large quantity of it. The amount needed to cause a reaction in most people is so small it is not visible. For example, the head of a pin can contain enough oil to contaminate 100 people. In most cases, it will be invisible to the naked eye before or even after the rash has appeared.

No poison oak stems do not have thorns on them. Poison oak grows as a  shrub or a climbing vine. Poison oak leaves are made up of three leaflets with scalloped edges resembling the leaves of a true oak and can change colors throughout the season. Poison oak can produce greenish-white or tan berries.

Poison oak bush

If the skin has been thoroughly cleansed with Tecnu Original or Tecnu Extreme, it shouldn't be necessary to wear gloves.

Tecnu Extreme Poison Ivy Scrub will remove any excess urushiol (rash-causing oil) that may be on the surface of your skin, as well as treat the itch. If spreading continues, consider the possibility that you may still be coming into contact with urushiol from items such as: clothing, tools, equipment, pets, etc. Tecnu Original cleanser can be used to clean these items to help prevent contamination.

Tecnu Original Outdoor Skin Cleanser can be used to decontaminate clothing that has come into contact with poison oak and ivy. Instructions for cleaning can be found here.

Yes, Tecnu Rash Relief Spray with Calendula (3X) helps prevent scarring from rashes caused by poison oak and ivy.

Yes. Even when the plants are dead, the resin that causes the rash remains active. Removing the plants entirely is the best way to avoid contact with them.