Telemedicine and Poison Ivy

July 18, 2019

(Picture was taken today of a huge patch of poison Ivy a few houses away from mine. It’s all poison ivy, but I’ve circled ones that are particularly classic looking)

By: Naomi Zilkha, MD (Telemedicine, Allied Physicians Group)

Hi Allied!

Today I’m going to talk about Poison Ivy.

Poison Ivy grows rampant here in New York. When I decided to write this, I took a walk around my house and was pleased that I couldn’t find any. But, just a few houses away, I found a very large patch of it (photo above).

It’s best to try to avoid poison ivy, and it’s pretty easy to spot. When I was a little girl, I used to play in the woods behind my house, so I learned very early to look for “leaves of 3; beware of me”. In the pic above, in the circled areas, you can see what I mean.

If your child does end up getting a rash from poison ivy (or poison oak or poison sumac), the oil contains urushiol, which is what causes the blistering, itchy rash.

There are so many rashes in the summer, and I am very good at diagnosing poison ivy just by looking at it, which makes it perfect for a telemedicine consult.

If you think your child may have been exposed to poison ivy, the first thing to do is to wash all the clothes they were wearing, and have the child take a shower.

Once the oil has been removed from skin and clothes it can’t spread anymore. It sometimes appears to be “spreading” because the rash starts wherever there was the most oil, and then comes out in areas where there was less oil.

The worst case of poison ivy I’ve ever seen was not a telemedicine consult, and it was years ago in my private practice. It was a teenage boy who had been camping in the woods and chose a patch of poison ivy to use as his bathroom 😱

More commonly, I see it on kids’ hands when they are playing with a ball that rolls into the woods, or on their legs, if they are walking through the woods.

Just like with other rashes, and other itchy problems, I have lots more advice and would love to share it with you during a telemedicine visit.

So remember, for after-hours urgent care, #ThinkAlliedTelemedicine first!

-Dr. Z

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