POISONOUS PLANTS

Symptoms and First Aid

Symptoms

Signs or symptoms associated with dermal contact with poisonous plants may include:

  • Red rash within a few days of contact
  • Possible bumps, patches, streaking, or weeping blisters (blister fluids are not contagious)
  • Swelling
  • Itching

First Aid

Workers who have come in contact with poisonous plants should:

  • Immediately rinse skin with rubbing alcohol, specialized poison plant washes, degreasing soap (such as dishwashing soap) or detergent, and lots of water.
    • Rinse frequently so that wash solutions do not dry on the skin and further spread the urushiol.
  • Scrub under nails with a brush.
  • Apply wet compresses, calamine lotion, or hydrocortisone cream to the skin to reduce itching and blistering.
    • Follow the directions on any creams and lotions. Do not apply to broken skin, such as open blisters.
    • Oatmeal baths may relieve itching.
  • An antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can be taken to help relieve itching.
    • Follow directions on the package.
    • Drowsiness may occur.
    • If children come in contact with work clothing contaminated with urushiol, a pediatrician should be contacted to determine appropriate dosage.
  • In severe cases or if the rash is on the face or genitals, seek professional medical attention.
  • Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room if the worker is suffering a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or difficulty breathing, or has had a severe reaction in the past.
Page last reviewed: June 1, 2018