Health & Fitness

May 6, 2013 1:28 PM

Doc Talk: What to do when poison plants cause allergic skin reactions

It’s that time of year when vegetation is growing quickly, including poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak. These notorious plants cause more allergic skin reactions (contact dermatitis) than all other plants combined. The substance that leads to the allergic reaction is called urushiol, a colorless oil in the leaves, fruit, stem, root and sap of the plant. When exposed to air it turns brown and will sometimes leave brown spots on the leaves.

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