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Is Poison Sumac Contagious?

There has been a lot of talk about poison sumac being transferred from one person to another. However, this is a huge misconception. We want to take a little time today to discuss how one person can get poison sumac and provide the elements for someone else to end up with it as well. Once you have a better idea of how poison sumac develops and becomes a reality, you will feel more comfortable when dealing with it around friends and family.

The Rash CANNOT be Transferred

We understand there are several people who believe the poison sumac rash can be transferred from one person to another, but that is only half the story. The truth is; the rash cannot be transferred, but the urushiol oil can be transferred. If you’re not familiar with urushiol oil, it’s produced by the poison sumac trees and shrubs.

The oil from the plants can be found internally and externally. If you come into contact with the plant, the oil will transfer to your hands, arms, legs, clothes, or anything else you have with you. Anything it touches could potentially be a future problem.

Future Needs

Since urushiol is the real problem, you need to take some precautionary measures. If you don’t, anyone in your household could end up with poison sumac, or you could find yourself with several blisters all over your body. Overcoming any future problems starts with a few preventative traits:

#1 Washing the Clothes – Anytime you find yourself around poison sumac, take the time to wash the clothes you wore immediately after direct contact. Throwing them in the hamper could transfer the urushiol oil from one article of clothing to another. So, the next person to do the laundry could end up getting the oil on their skin and ending up with poison sumac.

#2 Clean Everything! – We like to make sure there is no chance that urushiol oil will be on door knobs, tools, gloves, or other places you might touch. It’s very easy to overlook the urushiol, because it’s not something you can see. Unfortunately, it could wreak havoc on the home without anyone noticing. While Lysol might be the typical household cleaner, you should strongly consider wiping everyone down with alcohol. It’s your best shot at getting rid of the urushiol oil all together.

#3 Wash Yourself - Yep, taking a shower is very important within the first 10 to 20 minutes after being exposed to poison sumac. The rash is created because the urushiol oil seeps into your pores. In order to reverse the effect, you need to take a cold shower. This will allow the pores to close and the excess oil will be washed off the body. Please remember this part, because a hot shower can make matters extremely worse.

#4 Wash Your Pet – If you live in an area where poison sumac is present, your pets could end up rubbing against it. The problem with pets is they will never get poison sumac. You really have no idea where’ve they have been unless you see it in action. So, the next time they’re outside, take the time to give them a bath. It might seem like an inconvenience now, but if it keeps you from petting them and getting urushiol on your body, it’s well worth it.

#5 Going in Prepared – The best approach is wearing the proper safety gear before touching poison sumac. Don’t be afraid to wear long sleeves, pants, and even taping off areas like the ankles and wrists. We understand you might live in warmer climates, but dealing with poison sumac is much worse.

In the end, the poison sumac rash is not contagious. It’s the urushiol oil that creates the problem, but you can overcome this by using all of the tips we’ve provided for you today. However, if the situation is too much to handle, schedule an appointment with your doctor. He or she will be able to give you all the necessary information to make your situation better.