• Remove suspicious plants from your home.
• Cover up exposed skin.
• Wash your skin ASAP after contact.
• Disinfect clothes and equipment.
• Soothe your rash.
1. Watch One’s Surroundings & Remove Suspicious Plants From One’s Home
One needs to control the growth of poisonous plants at home front. One can smother the plants by cutting them close to the ground and then covering them with newspaper or mulch. The dead plants are still poisonous, so one needs to be careful when removing them.
If one chooses to dig the plants up and throw them out, it is better to cover up all of one’s skin while doing so and also thoroughly clean all the equipment that one uses. Try to remove the plant’s roots as much as possible so they do not grow easily again. In case one is highly allergic to poison sumac or other related plants, then it is better to have someone else do the digging.
2. Cover up Exposed Skin
It is better to keep one’s skin covered to avoid direct contact with urushiol. One may come across poisonous plants when outside (especially wet marshy areas along with bodies of water) when one is camping, gardening or hiking. It is better to wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves, and closed shoes.
3. Wash Your Skin ASAP After Contact
Urushiol will rather seep into one’s skin or clothing right away following contact. As soon as one comes into contact with it is better to wash off of one’s skin before one has a reaction provided that assuming that one is very sensitive or allergic. Whenever one suspects that one made contact with urushiol from poison ivy, oak or sumac immediately wash one’s skin with warm water and soap.
There are now commercial washes as well. They usually contain active ingredients including alcohol, acetone and other chemicals. In most cases making use of hand soap, laundry detergent and body wash/soap are good enough for most people to remove urushiol.
4. Clean/Disinfect Clothes & Equipment
Poison sumac’s oils can indeed linger on tools and clothing for long periods of time. This does mean a rash can easily spread even if one is not directly touching the plant. If one picks up gloves, shoes or gardening tools that have urushiol on them and have not been washed, then one may get a skin reaction or prolong a rash one is already suffering from.
One needs to wash anything right away that may have been rather exposed to poison sumac, including gardening gloves, shovels or other gardening equipment, a hose, handles of a wheel barrel or bucket/pail, socks, shoes, hats, etc. One can make use of some kitchen or bathroom cleaner on doorknobs that one may have touched, or other surfaces in your home just to be on the safe side.
5. Soothe Your Rash & Then Leave It Alone
It is rather tempting to pick or scratch a poison sumac rash, but this can actually make the rash worse and also increase one’s risk of scarring or developing an infection. One needs to try to keep one’s skin clean, dry and cool. Avoid scratching one’s skin as much as possible. Also, consider wearing gloves to bed if one finds oneself scratching in one’s sleep.