Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What does poison ivy rash look like?"
I am a 21 year old female, bad rash on the legs recently after going on a hike, what should I look for if its poison ivy? What should I do?
Typically the rash caused by contact with poison ivy is red and intensely itchy. The shape of the rash is commonly streak-like (due to the nature of the exposure as a leaf is brushed along the leg, for example), and often contains some raised areas of skin, usually with small fluid-filled vesicles or blisters. Swelling of the surrounding skin may also be noted.
See a doctor who can help
Find a Primary care-doctors near you
If you do have a contact dermatitis secondary to exposure to poison ivy, then supportive treatment can be helpful in reducing the symptoms produced by the rash; these treatments do not likely alter the duration of the rash. Cooling compresses and oatmeal baths can be soothing to the skin. Certain lotions such as calamine can ease the irritation as well. If itching is a concern, then antihistamines (such as Benadryl) may bring some relief. For severe symptoms, topical high-potency steroids used early on in the course of the rash can help provide relief. For involvement of areas with thin skin such as the genitals or the face, oral systemic steroids may be indicated. You should be evaluated by your primary care physician so that the extent and severity of your rash can be measured and the appropriate treatment can be prescribed.
Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.