When we think of gardens, we often think about places where we can relax, have a moment of peace and interact with plants and flowers; however some gardens can be the home of dangerous plants for us, humans. Among these plants we can find poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak, the three of them sharing a toxin that can put us through hell: Urushiol.

Urushiol is a toxin that can be present in the stems and leaves of the plant, and upon contact they cause a severe allergic reaction. It has been estimated that 3 out of 4 people in the World are prone to develop an allergic reaction known as poison oak rash. But even if you are one of the lucky few who is immune to the toxin, know that such immunity will wear off over time and repeated urushiol exposure.

Normally, people touch poison oak because they ignore how the plant looks and what it can do. As a first step of prevention we must gather knowledge of this plant and learn to recognize it. If you know you are in an area with this plant, you better use protective clothing, covering the majority of parts of your body to avoid the rash.

The rash is definitely not pretty to look at. In early stages it only is present as redness in the areas of your skin where the plant touched you; however as time passes, blisters will start to developed. In severe cases of poison oak rash, the blisters will be enlarged and oozing will take place, requiring the help of prescription medication. The help of doctor is needed in these severe cases and in cases where poison oak has come in contact with mucus membranes in the body, such as in the yes, mouth or the nose.

Currently there is no treatment to fully get rid of poison oak rash, as a matter of fact, doctors say that all current poison oak rash treatments are aimed at controlling and giving relief to the main symptoms of this condition: the incessant itching and the blistering. Calamine lotion is always recommended because of its soothing properties, but also because it has been observed it can help against the dry crusts in the skin.

Another way to find relief to the itching is through cool water, be it in the form of compresses or in just running water. I personally recommend filling a bath tub with cool water to find a space of relief if you are currently suffering from a rash.