Is a Poison Ivy Rash Contagious?

Is a Poison Ivy Rash Contagious?
Is a Poison Ivy Rash Contagious? (Image: ukapala/stock.xchng)

A poison ivy rash occurs on human skin after contact with certain plants containing urushiol oil. The rash can take several forms, from redness and irritation to blisters and swelling. The condition is irritating, but the most common myth about a poison ivy rash, that it is contagious, is false.


Other people cannot "catch" poison ivy by coming in contact with the rash on another person.

Scratching Poison Ivy Blisters

The clear substance that appears from blisters that have been scratched will not spread the rash.

Why Poison Ivy Spreads

The more urushiol oil you come into contact with, the quicker the rash appears on your body.

How Other People "Catch" Poison Ivy

Many people who get a rash think they came into contact with someone else's rash; in actuality, these people probably came into contact with clothing, yard tools, pets or car upholstery that had remnants of urushiol oil on it.

Avoid Spreading Poison Ivy

To avoid the spread of poison ivy, wash everything that has come into contact with a poison ivy plant in order to remove the urushiol oil. Since poison ivy oil can stay active for years, this is a crucial step in eliminating the spread of a poison ivy rash.

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