Poison Ivy, Oak, or Sumac: Rash From Indirect Contact

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Poison Ivy, Oak, or Sumac: Rash From Indirect Contact

Topic Overview

The oil (urushiol) that causes the rash from poison ivy, oak, or sumac can be spread to skin from:

  • Sporting equipment, such as fishing rods, balls, baseball bats and gloves, and hockey sticks.
  • Lawn and garden tools, such as lawn mower handles, rakes, and gardening gloves.
  • Clothing, shoes, gloves, pants, and footwear that have brushed against the plants.
  • Animal fur. Unlike people, animals do not get a rash when exposed to poison ivy. But they can easily carry the oil on their fur, where it may be spread to people who touch the animals.

Clothing that may have urushiol on it should be washed thoroughly, in bleach if possible. Other contaminated objects or surfaces can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol. Pets who have been in areas containing poison ivy, oak, or sumac should be washed with pet shampoo to remove any oil from their fur.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised October 22, 2009

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