Get E-Book on COVID-19

Q. How harmful is poison oak when contacted?

Answered by
Dr. Sudhir Kumar N
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 06, 2015 and last reviewed on: Oct 09, 2018

Hi doctor,

I disk golf in an area where a decent amount of poison oak is present. I would like to know how fast urushiol binds to skin, and once it does is there any possibility to spread?

I use an electronic cigarette which requires me to handle cotton that I feed into the atomizer. My doubt is if urushiol vaporizes automatically, what will be the harm?

Dr. Sudhir Kumar N

Cosmetology Dermatology Hair Transplant Surgeon


Welcome to

I have read your query. Poison oak causes allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) and is the most common cause of ACD than all the other causes combined.

The allergen which cause ACD is usually present within the sap named urushiol and it will be mainly present in the leaves and the inner stems of the plant.

After the contact with any part of the plant it usually takes 12 - 48 hours for the symptoms to occur. But the resin will bond immediately to the skin on contact. So, you should remove it with a mild soap wash immediately.

If within 10 - 15 minutes of contact washing is done, 50% can be removed. But, if it is beyond one hour, washing does not help much.

You can use Bentonite barrier creams which can prevent bonding of urushiol to your exposed parts. Urushiol once bound to the skin does not vaporize and does not spread to other parts of the body. As it is a local reaction, the intensity of it depends on the amount of resin contacted.

For further information consult a an allergy specialist online. --->

Was this answer helpful?


Related Questions:
I always have a stuffy nose causing brief dizzy spells. How can I stop it?
Is there any permanent solution for wheezing and dust allergy?
I have multiple itchy lesions all over my body. What can they be?

This is a sponsored Ad. icliniq or icliniq doctors do not endorse the content in the Ad.

Consult by PhoneConsult by Phone Video ChatVideo Chat
Also Read Answers From:

Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

Have allergy problems. I always have runny nose or sore throat or excessive sneezing and coughing and cannot breathe normally.

Query: Hello, I have been having allergy problems for many years. I cannot breathe from my nose even if it is not blocked because I feel like I get less oxygen from my nose. I also have asthma and as the seasons change my allergies react. I always have running nose or sore throat or excessive sneezing and ...  Read Full »

Why do I have brown spots on fingertips?

Query: Hello doctor, I have dark spots on my fingers that I have noticed this month only. It seems to be dry skin and this area on my fingers look bruised, as if they were left in the cold and looks almost purplish. In the past I did have tiny bumps that were itchy on the sides of my fingers but, they ar...  Read Full »

My allergy does not subside with 10 mg Cetirizine. Should I take 20 mg?

Query: Hi doctor, I have been taking 10 mg Singulair and 10 mg Cetirizine for five years for allergies, asthma, and Lyme. I just got two more kittens, and the medicines do not work anymore. I am miserable and desperate. I asked my doctor to give me 20 mg of Cetirizine and something else because I think ...  Read Full »

Also Read

Crohn's Disease
Crohn's disease causes inflammation of the digestive tract, which results in symptoms like severe diarrhea, stomach pain...  Read more»
I was diagnosed with Celiac disease a year back. Can you suggest any medicine?
Having celiac fromnlast 10 year dignosis recently ayear ago since then i am gluten free still cant absorb food feeling w...  Read more»
My head is shivering from 20 days, and it feels like head trauma. What is the cause?
Hello sir, My head is shivering like anything , feeling like trauma is head. And its start anytime in a day and when s...  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask an Allergy Specialist Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: All health Q&As published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.