Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac

Poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac are all plants that can cause painful and itchy reactions when they come in contact with skin.

2,395 Questions

Can you get poison oak from another person?

No, you only get the poison from the plant.

All three plants have an oil that if it still is on the person or clothes, then yes you can. Once a person has shed their clothes and taken a shower, the oil is gone and and you can't spread the rash. Some people get poison ivy from their pets, if their pets have gotten the oil on their fur.

Are poison sumac berries red?


Poison sumac has green or white berries. Good sumac has red berry clusters. You can take the red clusters, and crush then steep in cold water, then strain through cheesecloth to make a lemonade-flavored beverage, called "sumac-ade" or "Indian lemonade". MMM MMM good.

Can you work out with poison oak?

although heating your body during a workout will most likely cause the rash to become irritated and itch, it can not spread it since you can only develop a rash from the plant oils urushiol.

Can you treat poison ivy with econazole nitrate cream?

It may help with the itching but is probably not a good treatment for poison ivy without talking to your doctor.

Here is what I found:

Econazole comes as a cream to apply to the skin. Econazole is usually used once or twice a day, in the morning and evening, for 2 weeks. Some infections require up to 6 weeks of treatment. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use econazole exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Thoroughly clean the infected area, allow it to dry, and then gently rub the medication in until most of it disappears. Use just enough medication to cover the affected area. You should wash your hands after applying the medication.

Continue to use econazole even if you feel well. Do not stop using econazole without talking to your doctor.

What is the difference between poison oak and poison ivy?

Poison oak and poison ivy, along with poison sumac all belong to the cashew family, Anacardiaceae. All three contain an oil that actually is a resin called urushiol that causes an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) when it comes into direct contact with the skin of most people. Urushiol can also be transferred from other people, dogs and other pets, and clothing, tools or garden gloves if you touch them where they have the oils holding the resin on them.

Poison oak and poison Ivy are similar in appearance in that they each have a 3-leaf pattern. Poison Ivy grows as a shrub, bush or vine. The older vines, even if they have no leaves on them, can still hold resins. So, avoid touching older vines that look like they have "hairs" (aerial rootlets) on them. The stems attached to the leaves when younger often appear red. They also contain the urushiol. The ivy blooms in early spring. Once the flowers are pollinated, they produce small green berries that turn a creamy white in autumn.

Poison oak grows as a bush. The leaves of western poison oak may resemble oak tree leaves. Poison oak tends to be more prominent growing in the western half of the US, where as poison ivy is commonly found growing east of the Mississippi, and along most of the eastern and southern tier coastal regions and inland in most arboreal forests.

Treating poison ivy:

A less known "cure" for poison ivy is the "juice" of rhubarb stems. Like when using aloe vera, you break open the stalk and rub the viscous sap onto the area of the rash. It was suggested by an old Indiana farmer and, having used it (and nearly every commercial product and home remedy known to man) to stop the itch and dry up the rash from poison ivy, it is the best remedy found. It cools, soothes, stops the itch immediately, and then dries up the rash after only one or two applications.

Poison ivy adaptations?

It has toxins that that prevent insects from feeding off of it. It also has strong roots that make this plant hard to get rid of.

What is the best way to find a professional to remove poison ivy plants?

Call a tree removel service. They will have the know how. You can spray the poison ivy with Roundup and save yourself a considerable amount of money. After the plants totally die (about 2 weeks) do not touch or burn the leaves as they will still have the poison ivy oil on them. Handle only with gloves.

How can you find someone who has Poison Sumac Toxicodendron vernix growing wild who would be willing to sell some plants?

Poison Sumac grows wild in the eastern one-third of the United States and Texas, Louisiana, and Minnesota. If you live in one of those states, you might be able to find someone who has it growing wild and would let you remove it for free. Since it is both poisonous and invasive (spreads relentlessly), most people would be happy to have it removed. has a plant exchange bulletin board. Many helpful gardeners will share their plants.

What are adaptations that help poison oak survive?

Obviously, the poison! To brush up against this plant, or to eat this plant will certainly help in the plants survival as the organism that has had an encounter with this plant will not want one in the future.

Can poison ivy kill you if it's on your arm?

Unless you have a severe allergic reaction, poison ivy will not kill you. It's just extremely annoying and aggravating.

Is there a natural chemical to kill ivy?

Enough salt would do it, but nothing would grow there afterward. That's pretty "natural". Use a little "Roundup" and it will dissipate within a week. It may not be natural, but once it breaks down there isn't really much left to cause concern. Boiling water poured on the area where the ivy goes into the ground should do the trick without leaving the area barren. Renae in MD

Can someone get poison ivy twice?

Yes, I have gotten it twice.

The first time took about a week to become visible and the 2nd time it took a few days.

What does poison ivy look like on your skin?

Poison ivy causes severe itching that develops into reddish colored inflammation or non-colored bumps, and then blistering.

Can fluocinonide be used on poison ivy?

Yes, my physician just prescribed Fluocinonide .05% cream for a poison ivy outbreak on my arms. You are not supposed to use it more than 2 times a day and it can not be used on your face or genitals.

Is poison ivy contagious?

Poison Ivy is not contagious. It cannot be spread from person to person. It spreads by the oils from the plant. If you do not clean your skin well after contact or if you come into contact with clothes, garden tools, etc. that still have the oil on them, you can break out in other places. Even a weeping rash will not spread the rash to other places of your body, as long as you have cleaned your skin thoroughly after contact with the plant's oils.

Sometimes the poison ivy appears to be spreading, because it first appears in a small area then appears in more areas over time. But it is not actually spreading, it just takes awhile for your entire body to react. The first time you get it, it takes longest for your body to react. Each time after that will take less and less time between exposure and reaction.

The oil can stay active on clothes, garden tools, dead plants, etc. for up to five years.

Can dogs get poison ivy?

Can dogs get poison ivy? They can, but thankfully, dogs don't seem to get poison ivy nearly as commonly as humans. Thanks to their long, protective hair coat, the oils from poison ivy just can't reach the skin. Unfortunately, these oils can be spread from Itchy Izzy to you. Use caution when hiking through poison ivy with Izzy and avoid petting her immediately after. If you bring a towel, dry wipe her off after hiking (while wearing gloves!). Often you can minimize the likelihood of her transmitting these oils to you. If itchy Izzy has short hair and does get poison ivy, try bathing her in a colloidal oatmeal shampoo - they have them for dogs too!

Material from It's a Dog's Life... but It's Your Carpet, available at More information available at Copyright © 2008 Justine Lee Veterinary Consulting, LLC.

What is poison ivy?

Poison Ivy is a type of plant that when you touch it , that place of your body will be itchy. You can stop it by buying Calamine ( Ferric Oxide.) Lotion. You can buy the lotion at local stores.