Can you distinguish the difference between safe and poisonous leaves during the summer? Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are plants with peak growth in the summer which contain oil named Urushiol. Within 12-72 hours of contact with skin, Urushiol causes signs of irritation such as bumps, redness, mild swelling, and uncontrollable itchiness. Skin irritation from these poisonous plants will rarely lead to serious or life-threatening sickness. Nevertheless, if signs of severe allergic reaction do occur you should visit a doctor for medical care immediately. Signs of severe reaction to poison ivy, oak, and sumac include:

  • Blistering
  • Crusting or broken skin
  • Severe swelling
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing


Without treatment, mild rashes usually clear within 14 days. Nonetheless, the discomfort of uncontrollable itching, swelling, and redness from rashes can feel unbearable. For relief from your symptoms, use the following tips.

  • Press a cold compress on the infected area
  • Take an oatmeal bath
  • Apply anti-itch creams, lotions, or gels to the affected area
  • Don’t itch or touch the affected area as it aggravates and spreads the rash


Exposure to poison ivy, oak, or sumac doesn’t have to ruin your summer. At AFC Urgent Care Bronx we make it easy to walk in and be seen by a board-certified physician – no appointment necessary.  We also accept most insurances and offer low rates for our uninsured patients. For more information, visit us at our conveniently located urgent care center at 843 Hutchinson River Pky in Bronx, NY or give us a call at 718.925.4400.