Why, why, why hasn’t Dylan called yet? Claire Pratt has a crush, and her family’s summer vacation is ruining everything. They’re camped in the middle of nowhere, she has no cell phone signal, and she’s sure that’s why she hasn’t heard from him. It’s so unfair.

So Claire tromps through the woods, braving underbrush and thorny thickets, looking for service. And in the process, she contracts quite a nasty case of poison ivy.

Unfortunately for Claire’s parents, the local FastMed couldn’t do anything for her irritable mood, but her irritated skin was another story. With FastMed’s quick service Claire got in, got treated and got back out there. (And the whole thing was worth it, anyways — Dylan texted! He said, “‘Sup?’”)

If you’re one of the 50 million Americans each year who experience an allergic reaction to poison ivy or its cousins, poison sumac and poison oak, then you should know a few treatment tips. It’s also important to know when to come in and seek professional help.

Poison Ivy, Sumac or Oak Treatment

Poison Ivy FastMed

Taking care of a mild reaction:

  • Immediately rinse your skin with lukewarm, soapy water.
  • Wash your clothes and everything that may have the poison ivy oil on its surface.
  • Don’t scratch your skin! This often causes infection.
  • Leave blisters alone. Messing with them can also cause infection.
  • Take short, lukewarm baths.
  • Use calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream on affected areas.
  • Apply a cool compress to itchy skin.
  • Use antihistamine pills.

To most people, including Claire, poison ivy is simply annoying. However, some people have particularly severe reactions to it. 

Seek emergency care if you have:

  • Trouble breathing
  • A rash covering most of your body, or many smaller rashes and blisters
  • Swelling, especially around the eyes
  • A rash anywhere on your face or genitals
  • Itching that cannot be relieved