Rashes from Poison Ivy – Oak – Sumac

After a long winter, it is a welcome sight to see everything blooming and turning green, however, some plants are making a comeback that may not be so welcome. Poison Ivy and Poison Oak are notorious for wreaking havoc on children, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Arming yourself with the knowledge of what to look out for, and what to do should you have a run in with one of these plants, will set you up for a much more enjoyable time spent outdoors this summer!

First up, Poison Ivy, the most widely known of this rash inducing trio. Some identifying factors of this plant include:

  • Leaves are found in groupings of three and often have pointed ends
  • May have reddish leaves in the Spring
  • Can grow as ground cover, small bushes, and also climb other plants and structures as a vine
  • Leaves are among the first to turn colors in the Fall, often turning vibrant Fall colors

Second most commonly encountered is Poison Oak. Some identifying characteristics of this plant include:

  • Found primarily in the Southeast US and West Coast – Missouri INCLUDED
  • Leaves grow in groups of three
  • Leaves are notched similar to actual Oak leaves
  • Can have yellow/green flowers as well as similar colored or white berries

Last but not least is Poison Sumac:

  • Primarily in the Eastern half of the country, especially prominent around the Mississippi River and boggy areas of the Southeast
  • Shrub like plant with leaves growing in groups of 7-13, arranged in pairs
  • Can have glossy, off white, or light yellow berries
Poison Ivy - Oak - Sumac Leaves

Poison Ivy – Oak – Sumac Leaves

Some ways to avoid the rashes caused by these plants include:

  • Wearing long sleeves and pants when out in overgrown or wooded areas. Consider also using gloves and boots as an extra precaution. Wash all exposed clothing in hot water separate from other laundry.
  • Use rash barrier lotions to protect skin. Follow all product instructions carefully.

How to treat Poison Ivy, Oak or Sumac.

If you find that you have encountered any of these plants, don’t worry, rashes from this poisonous trio are often treatable at home. The Urushiol oil secreted from these plants will typically produce an itchy, blistering rash, though everyone reacts differently to this exposure. Some easy steps to follow are:

  • Wash hands and affected area thoroughly and immediately upon exposure if possible.
  • Wash clothes in hot water, seperate from other laundry.
  • Clean all items that could have been exposed to the plant and it’s oil, including shoes, tools, pets, etc.
  • Avoid scratching rash or disturbing blisters.
  • To ease itching, short, lukewarm oatmeal baths or short, cool showers may help, as well as Calamine Lotion, Hydrocortisone Cream, or cold compresses.

    Example of Poison Ivy Rash

    Example of Poison Ivy Rash

While these treatments typically help ease the symptoms of Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac rashes, always feel free to call your primary care provider to ensure you are taking the right course of treatment. If you do not see improvement in your symptoms after a week, or your symptoms are severe, such as:

  • Most of body is covered in rash
  • Multiple areas of rash and blistering
  • Face and/or genitals have rash
  • Swelling
  • Trouble Breathing or Swallowing

Such serious symptoms may require a trip to the Emergency Room. If you are a member of VIP Medical Services, please feel free to call your 24/7 Physician phone number and Dr. Holt and his staff will be happy to consult with you on whether or not your symptoms are treatable in our office, or if they warrant a trip to the ER. Hopefully this information provides you with the “need to know” knowledge to enjoy the outdoors, safely, this summer!

Tick Bites & Lyme Disease Symptoms

As the weather turns warmer and we begin to spend more time outdoors, we inevitably increase the likelihood of encountering ticks. Even as I write this, ticks are already out in full force. Granted, tick bites are unpleasant, however, there are several ways to lessen your likelihood of acquiring such bites. More importantly, from a medical perspective, there are several things you need to know regarding tickborne illnesses, primarily Lyme Disease and Lyme Disease symptoms.

Difference in Deer and Dog Ticks

Difference in Deer and Dog Ticks

Lyme Disease is spread by deer ticks carrying the bacteria B. burgdorferi. Symptoms of Lyme Disease include flu like symptoms such as stiff neck, chills, fever, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and often the most tell tale sign being a rash. Such rashes can appear at the site of the bite days to weeks after the initial bite. Oftentimes the Lymes Disease rash resembles a “bullseye” with a center on the bite and a ring around it. This bullseye rash can vary from small to spanning several feet across the body. If you experience any of these symptoms and have been in an area that would potentially have deer ticks, or if you suffer a tick bite from what you believe to be a deer tick, don’t hesitate to call your primary care provider. Doctors use physical examination and blood tests to determine whether a patient has contracted Lyme Disease. It is important that you call your doctor as soon as possible if you believe you may have Lyme Disease, as the longer it is left untreated, the greater the likelihood of developing permanent arthritis, nervous system problems, and even heart problems exist. If caught early, standard treatment is simply a round of antibiotics.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Bullseye Rash from Deer Tick Bite

Luckily, knowledge is power when it comes to keeping yourself at a lesser risk of tick bites and Lyme Disease. First, know that deer ticks are most plentiful in wooded areas, tall grass areas, or areas where neighborhood/suburban land meets the woods. Such bites are happening now! Peak season happens late Spring through early Fall, so vigilance is key. Follow these easy steps, and if you have any further questions about Lyme Disease or Lyme Disease symptoms, don’t hesitate to call our office at 417-485-4847! We would be happy to talk to you further.

How To Avoid Tick Bites:

– Wear long sleeves and pants when spending time in wooded areas or areas with tall grass.

– Use an insect repellent with DEET

– Inspect yourself, your family, and pets upon coming inside from time spent outdoors – the sooner, the better.

– The easiest way to inspect yourself is to shower and shampoo your hair, this will give you the opportunity to do a thorough check of your scalp.

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Best of 417

You may have seen our ad in 417 Magazine the past few months. It is important to us to participate in this publication as there is nothing more important to us as individuals or as a business than our LOCAL community. We love the 417! That being said, with the Best Of 417 voting going on now, we would LOVE to have your vote as something unique that you love about the 417. There isn’t a category for Physicians or doctor’s offices on this list BUT there is a spot for a Wild Card nomination. We would love to be your Wild Card vote! Simply head to www.417mag.com/BestOf and alllll the way at the bottom of the form you will find the Wild Card entry. This round of voting ends September 10, so tell your friends, and get to voting!

Come Back Soon!

Our blog is currently under construction while we prepare fresh, new content. We are excited to provide healthy posts designed specifically to improve the wellness of our patients and other readers, and we hope you’ll check back in with us.

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