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...
As most of us know, the medicinal use of marijuana is very controversial from a political and moral perspective. This is because marijuana is a drug that has both physiological and psychological effects that have convinced lawmakers that it should be illegal to possess. Today, I'd like to talk about marijuana and its potential, legal use for allergic contact dermatitis. Allergic contact dermatitis is a very common condition that results from physical contact with something that causes an allergic reaction. The most notorious example of allergic contact dermatitis is poison ivy, in which there is a delayed reaction to the contact with poison ivy that leaves a person very itchy about 2 days after being out in the woods or in the garden. Another very common example is a person who is allergic to nickel and breaks out in an itchy rash from earrings, a watch, or the metal buttons and snaps on pants. Allergic contact dermatitis can even be work related. An example wo...
Prevention Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when walking in areas where these plants may grow.
Skin products such as Ivy Block lotion can be applied beforehand to reduce the risk of a rash. Other steps include: Learn to identify poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Teach your children to identify them as soon as they are able.
Remove these plants if they grow near your home (but never burn them).
Be aware of resins carried by pets.
Wash as soon as possible after a suspected exposure. References Anderson BE, Marks JG Jr. Plant-induced dermatitis. In: Auerbach PS, ed. Wilderness Medicine . 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 57. Cydulka RK, Garber B. Dermatologic presentations. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosens Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice . 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 118. Habif TP. Contact dermatitis and patch testing. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology . 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 4.
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