Most people do not schedule a visit with a doctor for a poison ivy rash. However your general practitioner or family doctor will probably be able to diagnose the rash by looking at it. This is because diagnosis of poison ivy, oak, or sumac is based on the presence of the characteristic itchy rash associated with exposure to urushiol oil, and the likelihood of exposure to plants. If needed, you may be referred to a dermatologist who specializes in treating the medical, surgical and cosmetic conditions of the skin, hair and nails.
The first step in diagnosing dermatitis is to share information about signs and symptoms. Then, your doctors will examine your skin. Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions about the rash that you are experiencing, such as:
After a medical history and physical examination, your doctor will probably have sufficient information to diagnose a case of poison ivy. However, if the rash that you are experiencing is not caused by poison ivy, patch testing can help identify other possible allergens or triggers for skin reaction.
Patch testing - In cases of contact dermatitis which are not cause by poison ivy, your doctor may conduct patch testing on the skin to identify which substances inflame the skin. During this test, doctors apply small amounts of various substances to the skin under an adhesive covering. During return visits, they will examine the skin to check for reactions to any of the substances.
To treat poison ivy, doctors most often prescribe some type of steroid to help with the swelling and itching, depending upon the severity of the rash. But how can you treat poison ivy at home? More here on poison ivy remedies.
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