How Long Does Poison Ivy Last and Ways to Treat Them?


Poison ivy is a plant that has oily and irritating sap content inside it called urushiol.  A urushiol is the basic cause of an allergic reaction especially when it comes into contact with the skin. It may result in an itchy rash that can appear in few hours of exposure to it or even three to five days later. A person can get exposed to urushiol by several ways. It may be through the direct contact or by touching objects like camping equipment, gardening tools, and even the fur of your pet. But, it is basically caused due to the sap of the poisonous plants. So, the main question that strikes our mind is how long does poison ivy last? Well, if you are facing any allergic reaction due to poison ivy, then don’t worry. We will tell you about different aspects of poison ivy in this article.

Parts of the Plant Where You may Find Urushiol:

This content is found in all parts of the poisonous plants. But, the basic parts where you may find it includes the leaves, roots, and stems. It can also be present even after the plants are dead. The worst part about urushiol is that it gets absorbed quickly into the skin.  You may also inhale this substance even if the poison plants are burned. In addition, inhaling urushiol can cause a very serious allergic reaction. It may also get transferred from one object to another. So, it is really important to stay aware about it to prevent poison ivy rash.

Few Symptoms of Poison Ivy Rash:

Before we move ahead to discussing how long does poison ivy last? Lets us understand the different symptoms of poison ivy. Here are few very common symptoms that you may find, if you are having a poison ivy rash.

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Blisters
  • Difficulty while breathing, this will happen due to inhalation of the smoke from burning poison ivy.

Note: Remember the rash that occurs from the poison plants is basically a form of allergic contact dermatitis. Also, your skin is not sensitive to urushiol. The sensitivity gets build up only when your skin is exposed to the substance. Your immune system prepares a defensive reaction when your skin get exposed to the irritating substance. All this makes your skin sensitive and urushiol causes an adverse allergic reaction to your skin.

How Long Does Poison Ivy Last

How Long is the Reaction to Poison Ivy?

Well, this is a very common reaction in North America. This is the basic cause of allergic contact dermatitis. According to the experts around, three out of every four people are sensitive to the urushiol. But, the degree of sensitivity varies from one person to the other. There are few people who will have a quick reaction upon contact with very less amount of urushiol. But, there are other people who are very less sensitive towards this substance. The cases of poison ivy allergy occur more frequently during the seasons of summer, spring, and early winter fall. It basically happens when people spend more time in the outdoors.

How to Recognize an Allergic Reaction due to Poison Ivy?

Well, there is only two ways for diagnosing an allergic reaction caused due to poison ivy. One way is to recognize it through the symptoms you face. And the other way is to recognize it through the appearance of the rash.

How Long Does Poison Ivy Last?

Well, the average time poison ivy takes to go away is from 5-12 days. But, it is basically defined by the severity of the problem. The rash may also take 30 days or longer to last completely.

Few Preventive Measures:

Here are few important preventive measures that you may take to prevent allergic reaction due to poison ivy.

  • The basic step to prevent is to recognize and identify the appearance of poison ivy plant. You need to remember the structure and shape of the poison ivy leaves so that you may avoid it any cost once you find them.
  • Once you recognize these poisonous plants then simply remove them from your surroundings. The people may come into contact with this poisonous plants while working or play.
  • When you are gardening, then simply wear gloves and long sleeves clothes to prevent coming in contact with this plant.
  • Never let your kids or pets run in the wooded areas. They may get exposed to this poisonous plant. They may even carry urushiol to home by their fur.

Things to Do When You Come in Contact with Poison Ivy:

Here are few important steps that you may follow when you come in contact with poison ivy.

  • The primary step is to remove your clothes.
  • After this, start washing the exposed area with cool running water. If you have soap then use it with water. Always remember to clean it under your fingernails.
  • Also, wash your clothing and all camping gear, gardening tools, sports equipment, and other objects having a contact with this plant as they also get infected with it.
  • Wash your pets exposed to this plant.

When One Should Call a Doctor?

Well, if it takes a lot of time for poison ivy last, then it is really important to call a doctor as soon as possible.

  • One should only take an assistance of a doctor when a person suffers from severe symptoms.
  • Even when you are exposed to the poisonous smoke of poison ivy by burning it, then consult a doctor as soon as possible.
  • If the poison ivy rash covers one-quarter of your body, then it is really important to contact a doctor as soon as possible.
  • If the initial treatments do not help you in providing the relief of the symptoms then you may take an assistance of a good doctor.
  • You develop fever, blister, or increased tenderness due to an allergic infection, then you may take advice of a doctor.

So, it is not easy to say that when does the poison ivy last. It takes a lot of time and the condition depends on the severity of the problem. So, use the above ways and identify the problem before it starts getting broad.


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