A large number of people in the United States fall prey to allergy
due to contact with poison oak. This is because this bush is found in large numbers, typically,
to the west of the Rockies. This causes Poison Oak allergy. The leaves of the poison oak are
found in clusters of odd numbers 3, 5, or 7 and have smooth edges.
Most people have an allergy to poison oak
Causes of This Skin Disorder
Like poison ivy, poison oak also contains oil known as Urushiol,
which is the main cause of the poison oak allergy condition.
This oil is found throughout the shrub including the berries, stems, roots, and the leaves.
When you touch the plants, the oil attaches itself to your skin leading to the allergy.
Moreover, even if you touch any clothing or object that has been in contact with the plants,
you are liable to get affected with poison oak allergy. What’s more exposure to the smoke
of a burning shrub, will also affect the parts of your body that are exposed to the smoke.
Prevention of Poison Oak Allergy
Contact with poison oak shrubs must be avoided at all costs.
Know where they are most likely to be found, and avoid those areas.
Stay away from the burning of poison oak shrubs
If you are walking through areas that might have poison oak, then protect
your skin, by wearing long sleeved clothing, pants, and gloves.
Various ointments are available, like Ivy Block or Stokogurard etc that can be
applied to your body for protection.
These are some of the ways through which you can prevent poison ivy allergy.
The key is to be careful and avoid contact with poison oak.
Treatment for Poison Oak Allergy
As poison oak rashes are a fairly common occurrence, there is a variety of options
when it comes to their treatment.
Prescription medication like topical corticosteroid creams help reduce the
inflammation of the skin.
Medications like Prednisone are oral corticosteroids that are prescribed in the
more serious cases in the event of a widespread allergy.
Medication to get rid of the itching that accompanies the rash includes the intake
of oral antihistamines. A major advantage of such antihistamines is that they don’t make you
feel drowsy, and thus you can continue your daily routine abetted.
If there is a skin infection because of the poison oak rash, then antibiotic
medication is prescribed.
It is only in the more extreme cases of poison ivy allergy that prescription medication is
needed. Otherwise self care at home can also help you relieve the symptoms of the rash.
Using non-prescription lotions like Calamine etc can help relieve the symptoms of the rash.
Moreover, you can also use cold compress of milk, or water and hold it over the rash area.
This will help lower inflammation and relieve itching.
All said and done, poison oak allergy is a common skin disorder in areas where these shrubs
can be found in a large number. Avoidance of contact and post contact medication will help take
care of the problem by a long way.