TREAT PLANT CONTACT DERMATITIS
Plant contact dermatitis from poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac is treated
the following manner.
a. Expose Areas. Expose the affected areas by loosening or removing
clothing. Also remove any jewelry on the affected limb(s) since the jewelry could
interfere with blood circulation if the limb swells.
b. Cleanse Areas. Thoroughly wash the exposed areas of the casualty's skin
with soap and water or with alcohol to remove or reduce the amount of urushiol on the
(1) Wash the affected areas several times in succession, using a fresh soap
and water solution for each wash.
(2) Confine the washing to the affected areas in order to avoid spreading
urushiol to other parts of the body.
Avoid contact with the contaminated wash water.
c. Remove Contamination From Self. After washing the affected areas on the
casualty, wash your hands and any other part of your body that may have come into
contact with the urushiol. Also remove any clothing that may have come into contact
with urushiol. This protects you from reaction to the urushiol and also keeps the
casualty from becoming contaminated again from contact with your hands and clothing.
d. Apply Alcohol. Apply alcohol to the affected areas on the casualty's skin to
further cleanse it and to aid in preventing secondary infection.
e. Apply Calamine Lotion. Apply calamine lotion to soothe the contaminated
area, reduce itching, and aid in healing. Do not apply calamine lotion to raw areas.
Applying calamine lotion to an open sore could result in infection.
f. Administer Benadryl. Administer diphenhydramine hydrochloride (trade
name Benadryl) capsules to the casualty if he is showing signs and symptoms of
allergic reaction to the urushiol. The medication will help to decrease allergic reaction.
g. Let Affected Areas Dry. Do not dress the affected areas. Applying a
dressing would cause retention of moisture and not allow the contaminated areas to dry.