Poison sumac is characterized by its brightly red-colored leaf stem/stalk with 5-13 pointed leaves. The plant belongs to the same family as poison ivy. If directly exposed to any part of the plant, it can trigger an itchy and painful rash.
Exposure to the plant by accident including the leaves or berries can trigger a reaction among highly sensitive individuals. If the plant is burned, the toxin from the plant is released into the air. If inhaled, it can instigate the allergy symptoms.
The signs of poison sumac poisoning might vary for every individual. A reaction might be mild but can become severe. The reaction that arises is based on the degree of exposure and reaction of the individual.
The common signs of a reaction to poison sumac include:
- Itchiness at the body parts exposed to the plant that can be intense
- Reddened rashes in stripe or striated patterns accompanied by pain, irritation and burning sensation
- Formation of blisters filled with fluid
- Chest pain or tightness and other forms of respiratory difficulties if smoke from a burning plant has been inhaled
- Anaphylaxis might occur among highly sensitive individuals.
In most instances, the signs generally manifest within 1-3 days after exposure to the poison sumac plant. The serious phase of the skin symptoms might arise between 4-7 days of exposure.
Management of poison sumac poisoning
It is vital to call for emergency assistance if a severe allergic reaction to poison sumac manifests.
- You should check the individual if he/she is breathing and for the presence of a pulse.
- Thoroughly cleanse the body parts exposed to the plant using water and soap. The washing must be repeated after the next 6-8 hours.
- Any clothing or footwear that might be exposed to the plant should be removed. These must be washed thoroughly using hot water.
- Topical remedies such as calamine lotion, hydrocortisone ointment and Burow’s solution can provide relief to the bothersome symptoms.
- Keep the body cool to lessen the intense itchiness since further sweating can aggravate the condition.
- Antihistamines work by relieving the symptoms of poison sumac poisoning.