Imagine you’re enjoying a lovely walk in the woods, and before you know it, your skin has broken out into an itchy and painful rash. Sound familiar? If so, perhaps you’ve come across poison oak on your path. Although it is best to prevent this by learning how to identify the plant, once you experience a reaction, you will need to take action to encourage healing.
What is poison oak?
There are two primary varieties with distinct ranges across North America. The first is concentrated mainly in the western region of the United States and Canada, whereas the second manly grows in the south-eastern quarter of the United States.
Whether you are walking in the forest or come across poison oak in your own backyard, remember, “Leaves of three, let it be.” This plant will have an independent stem with three leaflets. However, it is extremely good at camouflaging itself. It is known to blend into the plants around it and will often change color with the seasons.
Once you brush past one of these plants or damage its leaves, an oil is released and absorbed into your skin. The majority of people (approximately 80 to 85 percent of the population) are allergic to poison oak. If exposed, you will begin to notice symptoms after one to six days.
What may start as minor skin irritation can quickly develop into a rash that blisters and oozes liquid. Yeah, gross (sorry if you were just eating your lunch). Although the rash will typically heal in ten to 12 days, some people are affected worse than others.
If you notice that you have a fever, experience facial swelling, have trouble swallowing or any other serious side effect, seek medical attention as you may be having a life-threatening allergic reaction.
How can I treat this horrible rash naturally?
More often than not, you can treat a poison oak rash at home. The moment you believe that you have been exposed, strip down and wash your clothing immediately. Also, thoroughly wash your body and hands. Once the rash surfaces, there are several natural treatment options.
If you live in an area where poison oak is common, it’s important that you’re able to identify it. After all, some people have experienced rashes after walking on the sidewalk. After all, Hippocrates was bang on when he said, “The greatest medicine of all is teaching people how not to need it.”