Prednisone for Poison Ivy Allergy
Anyone who has ever enjoyed a hike or a summer trip to mountains, valleys or forests of the United States know very well of the danger that comes in the seemingly harmless forms of poison ivy, poison oak and sumac. The unbearable burns and rash these plants leave on most people who come into contact with them are definitely the first badge most scouts get, and it's estimated that about 200,000 people suffer from various painful effects caused by these plants on an yearly basis. Of course, the best way to deal with these plants is to stay away from them at all costs by identifying them in advance. But too often people realize that they've touched poison ivy or oak when it's too late, and the pain from such a contact can last for just too long. That's why knowing how to address the painful reaction can be as important as identifying these plants. But first, let's learn more about the plants that are the actual cause of the problem.
First of all, poison ivy isn't technically an ivy but just a plant that looks very similar. It is known to manifest in three different forms - shrub, trailing and climbing wine - mostly in the eastern part of the United States. The main danger of this plant is the poisonous oil produced in its sap that contains a chemical called urushiol, which acts as a very strong allergen. A large number of people are susceptible to this allergen and develop a special form of dermatitis that we all know as poison ivy rash. However, in some individuals the reaction can be more severe and even have a lethal outcome.
This pant has similar effects to poison ivy, which can also affect non-human animals, and is primarily found in the western part of the country. It can be easily recognized as a bush that reaches three feet in height and that has leaves that are very similar to the ordinary oak. As in the case of poison ivy even the slightest tactile contact with poison oak leaves can result in severe skin reactions. They usually start out as just very mild discomfort but can rapidly develop into serious inflammation with pronounced bumps and blisters.
Poison sumac is the biggest and the most virulent poisonous plant found in the USA. It is an actual tree that can grow up to 30 feet tall with an odd number of leaflets on its leaves. It also produces urishiol, however the amounts of this substance found in poison sumac are so high that it is generally considered as the most dangerous plant to come in contact with. Besides the severe skin reactions that are usually more pronounced than with poison oak or ivy, poison sumac can also be very deadly if its leaves or branches are mistakenly thrown into fire. The smoke also contains considerable amounts of the poison, and when inhaled can lead to pulmonary oedema and suffocation. And that's when you really need to have an effective solution in your backpack.
The reactions caused by urishiol are allergic in nature, and we all known that allergic reactions are primarily associated with the immune system. That's why using drugs like Prednisone can be very effective in cases of poison oak, ivy or sumac reaction. Prednisone is a highly potent immunosuppresant that is very effective for reducing the severity of all types of inflammation over a short period of time. It can act both as a solution for treating the severe skin rash over a period of several days and as an instant solution for emergency cases such as inhaling poison sumac smoke. So make sure to take several pills of prednisone when going to wild areas known to contain any of these plants, or start taking it if the respective rash doesn't get away and becomes worse.