Poison Ivy vs. Poison Oak

Difference between poison ivy and poison oak

Poison ivy and poison oak are two very common allergens belonging to Anacardiaceae family. Their genus is Toxicodendron and the Poison ivy belongs to radicans species while poison oak belongs to diversilobum.

Irritant dermatitis and Contact dermatitis are two allergic conditions which show up in the form of rashes when the skin is exposed or if it comes in contact with any of these two allergens.  The allergy is caused because of the presence of urushiol oil in these plants.

The allergy caused by Poison Ivy shows p n your skin the form of reddish rashes and the blisters which automatically settle down with time after you have washed the infected area with alcohol and lot of water. You hold not use soap in case of such an allergic reaction because it can worsen the allergy  by spreading the urushiol oil but after you have washed it once with alcohol ad water then you can safely take shower and use soap while taking shower.

It is not at all contagious but we should avoid using the same soap which was used at the time of allergy. It is better not to take too many steps to treat rashes because it takes a little time for the reaction to settle down.

Poison oak causes irritant dermatitis and it also has the same urushiol oil which is responsible for the allergy. This is a commonly found plant in Canada and western US and can be seen in ivy and brushy structure similar to oak.  Atlantic Poison oak is another species of the same family. It belongs to Toxicodendron pubescens species. This has hairy appearance and the same urushiol oil. Urushiol oil is one of the strongest allergens found in plants.

Use of calamine lotion and prednisone can help in relieving from the allergic reaction.

Differences between Poison Ivy and Poison Oak are:

  1. Leaves of poison oak look like the leaves of oak tree while poison ivy can be identified by white berries, three leaflets and the hairy surface.
  2. Poison oak may grow as a shrub or a creeper while poison ivy usually grows as a bush but may grow as shrub or creeper as well.
  3. Poison oak is found mainly in the eastern US along the coastal area of Mississippi while Poison Ivy is common in the western US.

 

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