Poison oak is a shrub or a vine which grows anywhere in the US, besides the desert of the Southwest and Hawaii. Once human skin gets in contact with the leaves of this plant, it, almost immediately gets affected, experiencing rash. Luckily, this rash are not hard to deal with.
Facts about Poison Oak
We get rash from an oily chemical located on the surface of the leaves of this plant. The name of this chemical is urushiol. You may get exposed to the chemical by touching the plant directly, or by getting in contact with an animal that has brushed against poison oak and has the chemical on its body.
When the oil gets inside your skin, the rash appears. Then, the fact that you are scratching the rash will not make it worse, since the oil is already inside. Rest assured that touching someone else’s rash will not cause a rash on your skin. However, if someone is carrying the chemical on his/her body and gets in contact with your skin, the rash will take place due to this exposure.
Speaking of remedies which can help you deal with poison oak rash, many people try cortisone and calamine. Yet, these cannot make the skin problem go away. Sometimes, you may even need to contact your doctor for further assistance, if the symptoms you are enduring become more severe.
Finally, even though some people may seem resistant to poison oak effect, this is only temporary and frequent exposure will lead to the appearance of rash. Also, if you believe that repeated exposure can make you immune, know that this is not true.
Symptoms of Poison Oak Exposure
The symptoms of poison oak allergy usually appear a day or two after the contact, even though the first signs may appear even after 5 of 6 days. Basically, the affected skin blisters and has bumps which itch. These blisters are eventually bound to get open and expel ooze, which dries and creates a crust over the area. Swelling can affect the spot as well. Also, small red spots may appear, being flat or raised.
Is Poison Oak Contagious?
Finally, let us answer the question which bothers many people. Fortunately, poison oak is not contagious. However, the substance from the plant, urushiol, when transferred onto other people’s skin, can and will lead to rash. Yet, scratching the itchy spot will not cause the rash to spread since the chemical has already been absorbed by the skin. So, basically, two days after the exposure, all of the chemical you got in contact with is in your skin and can no longer be spread around. Nevertheless, you should protect yourself from poison oak by wearing proper, protective clothing.