Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac

These are plants that can cause a skin condition called allergic dermatitis when they come in contact with a child’s skin. The oil in these plants is what causes the problem. The child is essentially having an allergic reaction to the oil and that causes the red skin rash and itchy skin. The oil can be transferred from one person to another by contact.



  • Itching
  • Red rash or red streaks
  • Hives
  • Fluid filled blisters
  • Blood filled blisters
  • Swelling in the facial area, mouth, neck and eyes
  • Swelling in genital area

Treatments (mild to moderate reaction)

  • Immediately wash the area that came in contact with the plant
  • Use cool and wet compresses
  • Do cool water soaks
  • Anti Itch creams
  • Calamine lotion
  • Try not to scratch
  • Put socks on the child’s hand to help them not open the skin if they scratch
  • Aloe Vera bath
  • Wash any open sores with soap and water to prevent infection

Treatments (severe reaction)

  • All treatments in this area should be approved by a physician before starting
  • Benadryl cream
  • Calamine lotion
  • Corticosteroid cream, pills or shots
  • Antihistamine pills (Benadryl)
  • Avoid using Benadryl cream and taking Benadryl pills at the same time
  • Do not take Prednisone unless prescribed by your physician
  • For severe swelling and itching contact your physician or go the nearest Emergency Room
  • For difficulty breathing contact your physician or go to the nearest Emergency Room


  • Learn to recognize what the poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac leaves look like
  • Teach your child the phrase “Leaves of three, let it be”
  • May use Pre-Contact towelettes if you are going to be in an area where these might be