July 25, 2011
Each week, we track what medical condition is passing through Central Virginia. This week it's all about poison ivy. Dr. Mark Keeley of Crozet Family Medicine says poison ivy is what's going around.
Symptoms include itching, rashes and sometimes swelling, especially if it involves the face. Poison ivy can last one to two weeks.
There are a few options when it comes to treating poison ivy. Dr. Keeley suggests topical cortisone 1%, prescription strength cortisone cream if the condition is more severe or an oral prednisone if it's extensive or involves the face or genitalia.
You can prevent poison ivy by learning how to identify the plant, thorough hand washing after going outside as well as other exposed parts of the body. The plant has three almond-shaped leaves that range in color from light green to dark green, turning bright red in the fall.
Dr. Keeley also recommends washing any items that are exposed to the plant oil. Another important thing to point out, he says poison ivy is a delayed allergic reaction response. It occurs over the course of days, making it look like its spreading, but it does not spread by scratching and is not contagious.