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Sarasota Dermatology Blog

How contagious is poison ivy?

Posted on 21. Apr, 2009 by in Rashes

Is poison ivy contagious?

There’s a lot of my patients who are afraid they’ll develop a rash after coming into contact with someone who has a rash from poison ivy.  It is a common mistake to think that poison ivy is that contagious, but someone with poison ivy cannot infect you by coughing on you or even hugging you. 

The cause of a rash from poison ivy is actually the oil from the plant.  Therefore, any part of your skin that comes in contact with the oil of the poison ivy plant can develop and itchy rash.  Touching a rash from poison ivy, without the presence of the oil, cannot spread the rash.

With that said,  any traces of oil on your skin, clothing or any other objects can cause you to get a rash.  That is why it is important to use soap and water to wash the oil from the poison ivy plant off your skin, clothing, and anything else that may have come in contact with the oil from poison ivy. 

You most likely won’t develop a rash from coming in contact with someone who has a rash from poison ivy.  You are more like to develop a rash from being exposed to the the plant itself or something that has been exposed to the plant.   Wearing protective clothing and using a barrier cream will  help to protect you against potential exposure when you are outside.

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2 Responses to “How contagious is poison ivy?”

  1. Bill Bartmann

    02. Sep, 2009

    Great site…keep up the good work.

  2. Patrick

    14. Apr, 2014

    You bet it is. That’s why it spreads all over your body, you scratch it then touch another part of your body and it will transfer… Go ahead and touch another person with blisters, pop that blister, rub that oil on your skin and see what happens. Now… Is it contagious, not unless you really were to do what I described above.

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