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Difference Between Poison Ivy and Poison Oak

Poison Ivy vs Poison Oak

There is not much of a difference between poison ivy and poison oak. Both are plants. Both of them come from the plant family known as Toxicodendron. Inside these plants is a chemical poison known as “urushiol” which can cause allergic reaction in the skin. This severe allergic reaction causes the swelling and irritation of the skin as it becomes red and itchy. Any person who touches a poison ivy and poison oak is likely to experience the skin disease called dermatitis.

The only distinguishing mark between poison ivy and poison oak is the slim difference in the type of Toxicondendron plant group where they originated. Having a skin contact with both plants causes the same skin conditions and the medications and treatments are similar.

People get this allergic reaction touching a poison ivy and poison and poison oak which is likely to happen during hiking, gardening, farming or crop growing. This initial reaction of a person who touches any of these plants is to rub the contaminated part of the body by using his hands to relieve the itchiness, and the tendency is he will later on wipe his face and neck using the hands. He cannot spread the rashes by merely rubbing. The allergic reaction will worsen only if the urushiol oil is left on his hands and it is expected that he will be spreading the poison all over the body.

The skin will have small red bumps when exposed to poison ivy and poison oak. These bumps will be present in various parts of the body. You will see that there is somewhat a feather-like pattern present on the outer layer of the skin. It also appears as if the actual leaf has spread from corner to corner of the skin, but the fact is, it did not. What has actually proliferated is the poison from the plant. People have unique reactions to the chemical poison found in both plants depending on what skin type they have. Studies show that only ¼ ounce if “urushiol” is needed to trigger the allergic reaction of a person.

As the condition worsens, these tiny red bumps join together and form groups known as the vesicles. When a person scratches the vesicles repeatedly and with a stronger force, they break open and leave crater like formation on the skin. Excessive scratching will make the vesicles bleed and creates skin opening which can get contaminated with bacteria. The person must take in oral medications like antibiotics to prevent infection from happening.

It is a myth that a person who is contaminated with urushiol will spread the allergy by touching another person. The fact is poison ivy or poison oak is not a contagious condition. One gets it by his exposure to the plant, and not by the getting physically close to a person who has it.

The way to medicate this skin allergy is by using creams, lotions and ointments to stop the itching. These products are readily available over-the-counter in the nearest drug store or pharmacies. For severe conditions contaminating several parts of the body, it is advised that the patient sees a doctor to get a prescription of oral antibiotics to relieve him from the discomfort.

Summary:

1.Poison Ivy and poison oak are almost the same, as they come from the same plant family known as Toxicodendron.

2.The only difference lies is the type of plant group where both plants originated.

3.They have the same effect and can be cured using the same medications and treatments.

4.The allergic condition brought about by urushiol is not contagious.

5.A person will get the skin disease if he gets exposed to the poison ivy and poison oak, and not by having close contact with a person who has it.

6.Scratching and rubbing will not spread the rashes.

7.Contamination of other body parts happens only if the urushiol oil is left in the hand and it is touched in other parts of the body.

8.The way to cure the itchiness is by applying creams, lotions, ointments and oral antibiotics.


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