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Medical Care of Poison-Oak Rash


When to seek help

There are several situations in which Prednisone tablets or injections; intravenous fluids; antibiotics; specialized wound care; and/or brief hospitalization are needed. They are:

1. Anyone who sustains multiple poison-oak cuts or punctures. For example, a cyclist crashes into a poison-oak bush.

2. Those who begin to develop a rash within 24 hours of exposure. They need closer observation, and may need to be evaluated, because they tend to have worse rashes.

3. Healthy adults should seek medical help when 20% of their skin is involved. Small children, sick adults and the infirm elderly should seek help at 10%. At these percentages a significant portion of a persons body fluid has moved into the skin.

          The per cent of skin involved is estimated by the Rule of Nines. According to that Rule the head and neck are 9%; the hands and arms are 18%; the lower extremities are 36%; the trunk is 36%; and the privates are 1%.

Additionally, if the patient is unable to see (eyes swollen shut), unable to walk, cant use their hands, or has two or more large torn blisters they should be seen.

4. And, anyone who shows signs of possible infection, such as fever, pain, cloudy blister fluid (instead of clear), pus on the skin surface, or red streaks.

The Medical Care section was written in collaboration with Patrick J. Vaughan, M.D., by Curt Beebe, M.D..

 

All content copyright Dr. Curt Beebe. Please do not use without permission.