The beginning of summer kicks off the camping and hiking season, anxiously awaited by those who have endured a long cold winter. This year will likely prove to be one of the busier camping seasons as many Americans bypass more expensive vacations that involve pricey airline tickets or gas guzzling road trips. Emergency department staff will probably see a greater number of people with contact dermatitis caused by exposure to poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. Many people have never seen poison ivy , or perhaps wouldn't recognize it if they saw it. Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac belong to the plant genus Toxicodendron (previously referred to as Rhus ). Toxicodendron means "poisonous tree." These plants have an oil-based substance in the resin on their leaves and in their stems and branches called urushiol that causes a delayed skin reaction in about 50% of people that contact it. Urushiol may cause severe contact dermatitis in people that have previousl...
Types of burns
What is the difference between first-, second-, and third-degree burns?
First-degree burns involve red skin, mild swelling , and some pain.
Second-degree burns are very painful and involve red skin with blisters that may open and ooze clear fluid.
Third-degree burns are often extremely painful. However, they may be painless if nerves have been damaged. In this type of burn, layers of skin are destroyed and skin appears brown or charred.
See burns for more information.
First Aid Wash the skin thoroughly with soap and warm water. Because the plant oil enters skin quickly, try to wash it off within 30 minutes. Scrub under the fingernails with a brush to prevent the plant oil from spreading to other parts of the body. Wash clothing and shoes with soap and hot water. The plant oils can linger on them. Immediately bathe animals to remove the oils from their fur. Body heat and sweating can aggravate the itching. Stay cool and apply cool compresses to your skin. Calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream can be applied to the skin to reduce itching and blistering. Bathing in lukewarm water with an oatmeal bath product, available in drugstores, may soothe itchy skin. Aluminum acetate (Domeboro solution) soaks can help to dry the rash and reduce itching. If creams, lotions, or bathing do not stop the itching, antihistamines may be helpful. In severe cases, especially for a rash around the face or genitals, the health care provider may prescribe steroids, taken by mouth...
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