What's Going Around: Poison Ivy

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) Be careful before you venture into the woods.

In this week's "What's Going Around Report," local doctors have been treating a lot of patients with rashes from poison ivy.

Dr. Belinda Miller with Kids First Immediate Care in East Lansing says about 85% of Americans are allergic to an oil found in the leaves and stems of poison ivy plants.

Symptoms of poison ivy include itching, red streaks where the plant brushed against the skin, small bumps, and blisters. It typically takes about a day or two after exposure for the itching to start.

Dr. Miller says the rash itself is not contagious, only the plant oil is. She recommends soaking the infected area with cool water, or using calamine lotion. You can also use topical antihistamines or antibiotics.

You may be able to avoid the rash if you wash your skin with hot water and soap within 10 minutes of exposure.

To avoid the itch all together, Dr. Miller recommends wearing long pants and sleeves when going out into the woods.