If you've had an encounter with poison ivy you may have a red, itchy rash consisting of small bumps, blisters or swelling. Most people are sensitive to poison ivy to some degree. Rashes caused by poison ivy aren't generally serious, but they certainly can be bothersome. Treatment for poison ivy mostly consists of home remedies to relieve the itching until the reaction goes away.
Signs and symptoms of a poison ivy rash include:
Your skin must come in direct contact with the oil from the plant in order to be affected. Spreading blister fluid through scratching doesn't spread the rash, but germs under your fingernails may cause a secondary infection.
When to see a doctor:
Your rash is severe or widespread
Your rash is on or near your eyes, mouth or genitals
Blisters are oozing pus
A fever above 100
Your rash lasts longer than a few weeks
Scratching your poison ivy rash with dirty fingernails can cause a secondary bacterial infection. This might cause pus to start oozing from the blisters. You should see your doctor if that happens. Treatment for a secondary infection is generally with antibiotics.
Poison ivy rashes will typically go away on its own within one to three weeks. In the meantime, you can use home remedies and over-the-counter medications to relieve signs and symptoms. If your rash is spread all over your body or you have an excessive amount of blisters, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid, such as prednisone.