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Pediatric Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac

Key Points About Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac Rash in Children

  • Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are plants that cause an allergic rash in most people who touch them. The rash is caused by a reaction to an oil in the plants called urushiol.
  • The rash can't be spread from person to person by touching the blisters, or from the fluid inside the blisters. But oil that remains on skin, clothes or shoes can be spread to another person and cause a rash.
  • Treatment is done to reduce itching. Itching can be treated with lotion, cream or medicine by mouth.
  • In some cases, your child may need urgent treatment if they have a severe reaction and swelling.
  • If your child has a severe reaction, make sure this is documented in your child's medical records.
Children's Team

Children's Team





The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Hospital continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.