Allergic Contact Dermatitis: Poison Ivy

Rhonda Goodman, PhD, ARNP, FNP-BC; Deborah Hollimon, MS, ARNP, FNP-BC


Dermatology Nursing 

In This Article

Patient Education

Prevention is the best form of protection. Families may learn to identify and remove poisonous plants in their yard to avoid contact with allergens. Protective clothing, such as long pants, hats, gloves, and long-sleeved shirts should be worn while working in the yard (Graham, 2003). Any clothing, shoes, tools, or pets which have been exposed should be washed. Burning the plants should be avoided, as the smoke may contain particulate matter with urushiol, and it may produce an allergic reaction, either from contact with the skin or a systemic reaction from inhaling the smoke. Also, when plants are cut with mowers or edgers, the urushiol may become airborne. Plants should never be ingested, as they may cause gastrointestinal reactions. Patients should be taught good hand washing and hygiene and to avoid scratching the lesions.


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