How Long Does Poison Ivy Rash Last & Duration it takes to Appear/Show Up

Many victims of poison ivy rash always wonder how long it will last. Here is breakdown of the duration it will take, the factors that will determine the length of the period including how it will take to show up.

How long does Poison Ivy Last on skin-Exact Duration

How long a rash takes to heal may vary from one person to another. However, the estimated duration that the rash will take to heal is roughly five to twelve days. When the rash is very severe, you may take up to 30 days to heal.[1]

how long does poison ivy rash last
Poison Ivy Rash

A board certified dermatologist, Seemal R. Desai, says that the rash when untreated will go away in at most 3 weeks.[2] If it exceeds that period,  Dr. Desai advises that you seek medical attention.

Apart from that, if your rash does not improve within the first ten days of treatment, you should go back to your dermatologist as that would mean the rash has been infected.

What Factors will determine the duration?

There are factors that determine how long poison ivy rash will last on your skin. They influence different individuals differently. They include the following;


If you choose to let the rash go away on its own, it may take a very long time. However, when you seek treatment, the healing period is reduced. Different remedies work at a different speed.

It is advisable that you choose the right treatment depending on the severity of your condition. Your dermatologist can help you choose the treatment that will work fast.

Sensitivity of the skin

Different skin types have different levels of sensitivity. If you have a very sensitive skin, your skin reacts more seriously to urushiol and it will take a very long time before it heals. A less sensitive skin fights the rash easily and hence it does not last for long.

Level  of exposure

The amount of urushiol that got into contact with your skin also influences how long you have to stay with the rash. The more exposure you have with urushiol, the longer the rash will take before going away.

Frequency of application of medication

If you apply your medication as often as possible, most especially for the natural remedies, you will realize the rash disappears in a short while. Even that, it is important to seek your dermatologist’s advice on how much of the treatment would be too much.

Severity of the condition

The seriousness of your condition also influences the time taken by your rash before it heals. If your rash is too severe, that is; extreme itching, pain, and big bumps; it will most likely take very long time to heal.

How soon you begin treatment

If you treat the rash as soon as it appears, it will most likely take a shorter time to heal. If you take a long time before beginning treatment, it will be hard to cure the rash quickly as it will be far developed.

If you wash the urushiol as soon as you notice it on your skin, you reduce the rashes that are likely to develop. That makes treatment becomes easy and faster.

Length of exposure

If your skin is exposed to urushiol for a long time, then you will expect that the extent of your skin’s reaction is also stretched. The longer you are exposed to the sap, the longer the duration the rash may take to heal.

Mode of acquisition

You can either get the rash through direct contact with poison ivy plant or indirect contact with urushiol. In the case where the urushiol comes into contact with your skin from the plant, it may make the condition severe and hence lengthening your healing period.

How long does Poison Ivy Last on Clothes

When the urushiol on your skin gets into contact with your clothes, it is likely to stick on them. The sap is usually invisible and you may not notice it on your clothes.

Since clothes are non-living objects, they can have the sap stuck on them for several months. This means that, if you use a cloth that came into contact with urushiol five months ago, you will end up with poison ivy rash.

The long period over which urushiol lasts on clothes explains why you are always advised to dispose clothes suspected to have it. Where you still wish to use the cloth, you are advised to wash it thoroughly using soap and hot water.

Before using that cloth, examine it carefully to ensure all the sap is gone. It will be easier to wash the urushiol off the cloth if you do it within the first fifteen minutes after contact.

How long Does Poison Ivy Itch & Weep (Ooze)?

Poison ivy rash comes with severe itching. You will experience the itching 12 to 48 hours after contact with urushiol. This itchiness has been reported to go on all through the healing process. Normally, as your skin heals, it itches.

Even after the irritant is done away with, you may still experience itching. Good news is; there are available treatment options that will relieve you of the itching.

You can reduce the itchiness by using home remedies such as essential oils. Upon use of such treatments, the itching is stopped since most home remedies have a cooling effect on your skin.

If you want to reduce the itchiness as fast as possible, you are advised not to scratch the skin with the poison ivy rash as that only worsens the condition.

At some point, the blisters that come as a consequence of the rash begin to ooze. The oozing is usually after the blisters break. The liquid that is produced during the oozing is not contagious since it is not a poison but rather your own serum.

This means that oozing should not be a cause of alarm. The oozing goes own until all the fluid in the blisters is released and they dry up.

How long before poison ivy rash appears or Show Up

When you come into direct contact with poison ivy, the oily substance urushiol stays for some time on your skin before the rash can show up. After your skin gets into contact with poison ivy plant, urushiol will start penetrating your skin in about 5 to 10 minutes. [3]

Research shows that, you may start experiencing the rash in as soon as 4 hours after exposure. The rash may also take about 2 to 3 weeks after exposure before it fully appears. Blisters that come with poison ivy rash form in a duration of 1 to 14 days.







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