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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Poison Ivy

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 08/16/1999]
Question: My doctor prescribed prednisone for a very mild case of poison ivy. Is this drug necessary?

Answer: No, but it will speed things up, healing wise and itching.

Poison Ivy
Question: I have poison ivy. Over the counter ointments are not working very well. Is there a prescription that I can get that will work better?

Answer: Poison Ivy is a contact dermatitis. These respond to local or system steroids. Hydrocortisone 1% is available over the counter and will be mildly effective. Systemic steroids or higher potency local steroid creams are only available by prescription. Ensure when you have poison ivy that you wash all your clothes and sheets that you might have come in contact with. This is important to eliminate repeat contact at home.

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