How to Get Rid of Poison Sumac
Poison sumac: it is a sworn enemy for all those who like the outdoors. Hand in hand with its partners in crime, poison ivy and poison oak, it causes painful rashes that can hang around for a longer period than the enjoyment of being outdoors. And when you’re undergoing such an ordeal, the only word that would linger in your mind would be ‘relief’. What you are just about to read will give a simple and comprehensive outline on the causes and effects of poison sumac and also the formidable treatment methods.
Getting to Know your Enemy
Poison sumac belongs to the Toxicodendron genus, which is endemic to North America. There are wide varieties of species varying from one place to another, but encouragingly, poison plants can be distinguished by the existence of white berries and unique leaf-cluster. Poison sumac has 8-12 leaves per branch and procreates green or white berries. Poison sumac and all plants under the Toxicodendron genus secrete resinous oil, of which “urushiol” is the active ingredient.
Urushiol is not really a poison; it is an allergen that specifically targets humans. Essentially, no other species are susceptible to it. Like all allergens, urushiol stimulates the immune system of humans and switches it to a self destruct mode, thereby attacking its own tissues. Urushiol is well known as “the most destructive allergen.” In the most unfortunate cases, urushiol can even cause death; favorably, this extreme reaction is very rare.
Certainly, it is very easy to fall prey to poisonous plants as they swarm backyards, gardens and deep woods. It is well known that prevention is mighty better than cure. It aptly suits this case because there is literally no cure for poison sumac rashes but there are certain treatments that can be of positive effect for Toxicodendron dermatitis.
Treatments for Removing Poison Sumac
There has been widespread search for a cure for poison sumac dermatitis, but at the moment everything points to hypothetical theories and nothing that actually nullifies the effect of the allergen-urushiol. Many things have been given a try, right from medicinal herbs to animal urine to gunpowder. Some remedies have been successful in a way that they can reduce pain and ease itching. But it can be assumed as of now that only time can cure this disorder. There are two methods to treat poison sumac dermatitis symptoms: palliatives and preventatives.
Palliative remedies reduce the effect of poison sumac, rather than affecting a proper cure.
- Pinkish calamine lotion: Temporarily soothes and cools the skin but doesn’t give a 100% cure.
- Oatmeal baths provide a temporary relief.
- Hot water provides short time ease of pain.
- Anti-itch medications might seem to be working but they actually don’t in most cases.
- Antihistamines are useless.
- Corticosteroids, either taken as tablets or injected, can make your body functions go haywire.
The most assuring preventive measure against poison sumac rashes is to keep away from the toxic species altogether; however, this is quite unrealistic and impractical. Some methods that can be effective are,
- Treating the infected area with a strong soap.
- Swabbing the area with alcohol, though it takes eons of time to do this effectively.
- Barrier creams are another good option.
A lot of balanced medical preparations have been introduced, but their effects seem to be growing obsolete with time. Fortunately, there’s a glimmer of hope that extensive research into allergens will provide some clues if not answers that might finally result in a 100% reliable cure. Those who are susceptible can only wait and hope foe the best to happen.
Remember this: Poison sumac may not kill you, but some of the remedies can! So make sure you get a doctor’s consultation before you do anything.