Are You Allergic To Poison Ivy, Poison Oak Or Poison Sumac?

United States
July 30, 2009 11:02am CST
It is a common misconception that everybody is allergic to Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac. Everyone is not allergic to them, but most people are. Therefore, it is better to try to avoid them whenever possible. I have come into contact with Poison Ivy numerous times and have never had a reaction to it. I asked the doctor about it, and she said that some people will never become allergic but others will develop an allergic reaction to it over time. She said that just because I never had a reaction to it doesn't mean that I never will, but then again I might be one of the lucky ones that is immune. I was determined to be in the latter group. Unfortunately, I was doing yard work earlier in the week, and now I have a few itchy, red patches on one of my knees. They are not blisters, but I have about three small patches of itchy, red bumps on my knee. My mom thinks it is Poison Ivy, but I'm not convinced. Either way, I obviously got into something that I should probably avoid in the future, although I'm not exactly sure what it is. So my question is: Are you allergic to Poison Ivy, Poison Oak or Poison Sumac? If you are, do you have a small reaction (like mine) or do you have a more severe reaction where you have to take medicine for it?
1 person likes this
8 responses
• United States
26 Sep 09
I have never had a reaction to poinson ivy, or maybe ihave just never come into contact with it. But i did have a bad reaction to poison oak once when i was younger. It caused me to break out in HUGE nasty yellow liquid filled blisters whereever it had contacted me. I should probably do some more reasearch as to know exactly what these plants look like, so that i do not push my luck, but so far, no incidences in years...
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Sep 09
It's good that you haven't had any instances in years, but the one incident that you had sounds quite unpleasant. I think I would check into what they looked like, because I don't think I would want to go through that once let alone twice! I am not 100% sure, but I think that if you are allergic to one, then you are probably allergic to all three. That is what I have gathered from doing some reading on the subject, anyway. I don't think I'll be going out and testing that theory any time soon, though.
• United States
28 Sep 09
i agree, i am certainly not going to go out and experiment to find out if i have reactions to the other two. It is makin m itchy just thinking about it!!
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Sep 09
LOL! Now, I'm itching, too. Isn't it funny how just the suggestion and the memory of a past experience like that can make you itch now?
• United States
12 May
nope.neither is my brother.the way i see it,it makes up for all the other allergies i have. but when we were kids,this brother and sister we hung out with..we could walk through a field with them,and within minutes the 2 of them were covered in rash,us? nada. they couldn't understand why we never were affected.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 May
You and your brother were lucky but the other two not so much. I would think that at some point they would learn not to walk through fields with you, though. I still do not know what I got into this one time, but it certainly was not Poison Ivy as I push mow through patches of it in the lawn every year and still (knock on wood) never have any kind of reaction to it. We also have wild Parsnip in the yard, and several people have had bad reactions to it but I do not react to that, either.
@thea09 (18281)
• Greece
25 Sep 09
Good afternoon to you purplealbaster, what a fine and intesting discussion. I have no idea at all if we have any varieties of poison ivy growing in this area but doubt it very much as would probably notice if I sat on it, in which case I would recommend applying a dock leaf to the area sat on. It appears though that there is something in the pollen from the olive trees which causes mass sneezing throughout the region for one week only in May each year.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Sep 09
Yes, sitting in a field of poison ivy would definitely not be a good way to find out whether or not you are allergic to it. I'm not sure what a dock leaf is, but it must be something that soothes itches. I would need an awfully big dock leaf if I found out that I was allergic to it. Seasonal allergies can be a pain. You are lucky if you only suffer from them one week per year! Wanna trade? I usually have them in Spring and Fall.
@Hatley (118213)
• Garden Grove, California
25 Sep 09
Hi purplealabaster No I am not allergic to poison ivy or p oison oak or poison sumac. But my whole family except me was very 'allergic to it. my mom was really horribly allergic to' poison ivy but as I had heard you might be allergic if you were brushed against it enough times, I just steer clear of it. I spent all last summer though with a lovely nasty case of shingles, itchy nerve zapping shingle blisters. It seemed to take forever to get rid of them too. I was on antiviral medication almost all summer and that took some of the pain out of them. Anyone who has had chicken pox as a kid can get shingles just out of the blue. There is now a vaccine that anyone who has had chicken pox should get .It does prevent you from getting shingles.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Sep 09
That is awful, Hatley! I hope you are doing better now. Shingles can be very serious, especially in older people. It is not something to be taken lightly. Yes, my mom is severely allergic to poison ivy, too. We have to get her to the hospital at the first sign that she is starting to break out or the results could be unthinkable. She has to stay away from cashews, too, since there is an oil in cashews that is similar to what is in poison ivy. It generally won't bother you, but if you are severely allergic to poison ivy then it can also cause you to have an allergic reaction to cashews.
@Cherryd41 (1122)
• United States
28 Aug 09
Well I know I am allergic to Poison Ivy I had a case of that a couple of years ago it drove me crazy with all the itching and it spreads like crazy. I had to be put on some medication to get rid of it as for Poison Oak or Poison Sumac I am probably allergic to those as well.
• United States
1 Sep 09
Your reaction to Poison Ivy is the same as my mom's reaction - she gets it all over, it itches like crazy, and she needs to take medicine to get rid of it. The spots that I had, on the other hand, were in one small area, and they did itch but not that bad. I put Desitin on them, and it stopped the itch. I think that if you are allergic to Poison Ivy, then you will be allergic to Poison Oak and Poison Sumac as well. From what I have read, the components that make them "poisonous" are similar in all three, but I think that Poison Sumac is the worst. They said NEVER burn it, because it releases the oil into the air and it can get into your airway and kill you (the airway swells from the blisters and can suffocate you).
@mrakobesie (1246)
• United States
30 Jul 09
I never had a reaction to these plants even though i love going to the woods that are loaded with poison ivy. i recently had a reaction and was arguing with my mom over it too, she thinks it's poison ivy and i think it's something else... it was just redness and it was itchy. i had it on a few spots all over the body but i think it was something like laundry detergent... i had a reaction to detergents before, so i think it might be it... honey helped though, i put a little on the stop and kept it there for about 2-3 hours. it helped a lot
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Jul 09
Yeah, I don't really think that mine is Poison Ivy, either, but I know that I got into something that I should stay away from. I put Desitin on mine, and it took the itch away. You need to be careful if you are sensitive to laundry detergents, though. My brother had a really bad reaction to one kind, so now he has to be very careful about what he uses.
@mentalward (14716)
• United States
1 Oct 09
I used to be able to roll in poison ivy and never have an allergic reaction. My sister, on the other hand, just looked at it and got a rash. Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that I have developed an allergy to poison ivy. I was working on a new garden, years ago, and there was a HUGE poison ivy vine in the middle of it. I did put on gloves but I didn't think anything about just grabbing that vine and pulling. It wasn't long after that, maybe by that night, that my arms and legs were covered with a rash... those horrible itchy bumps. I don't know about poison oak or sumac, though. I haven't come across any... yet. If I do, you can bet I won't be touching it with naked skin! You could very well have developed an allergy to poison ivy. I bought some poison made specifically to kill poison ivy, oak and sumac. It's in a spray bottle that you spray on each plant you see. It really does kill them! We live in the mountains and there are hundreds of poison ivy vines all over the place. Oh, how I wish I could still roll in the stuff without a reaction! Oh, I don't take medicine for it, although antihistamines really help with the itching.
@psphacker (1055)
• United States
30 Jul 09
No I am not allergic to poison ivy,poison oak or poison sumac.
• United States
30 Jul 09
It's good that you are not allergic, and I hope you stay that way.