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Plant allergy treatment

Usually self-care at home is all that is needed for an allergic reaction to a plant, but medical advice should always be sought if the reaction is severe.

Self-care at home

If you are exposed to plants or their oils that are irritant, wash thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible. If you can remove the oil quickly, you may be able to avoid a rash.

Symptoms from a mild rash can sometimes be relieved by the following:

  • Cool compresses with water or milk
  • Calamine - a non-prescription lotion
  • Oatmeal bath - a product you put in the bath to relieve itching
  • Over-the-counter anti-itch creams
  • Oral antihistamines. Caution: some of these medications may make you too drowsy to drive a car or operate machinery safely.

Do not attempt to treat severe reactions or to "wait it out" at home. Seek urgent medical advice, call 999, or go immediately to the nearest A&E department.

Here are some things to do:

  • Try to stay calm.
  • Prevent further exposure to the 'poisonous' plant.
  • Take an antihistamine if you can swallow without difficulty.
  • If you are wheezing or having difficulty breathing, use an inhaled bronchodilator if one is available. These inhaled medications dilate the airway.
  • If you are feeling light-headed or faint, lie down and raise your legs higher than your head to help blood flow to your brain.
  • If you have been given an adrenaline kit for a previous allergic reaction, inject yourself as you have been instructed. The kit provides a pre-measured dose of adrenaline, a prescription drug that rapidly reverses the most serious symptoms.
  • Bystanders can administer CPR to a person who becomes unconscious and stops breathing or does not have a pulse.
  • If at all possible, you or your companion should be prepared to tell medical personnel what medications you take or have taken, and any allergy history.

Medical treatment

Like most allergic reactions, treatment is dictated by the severity of the reaction. Reactions that cover a large proportion of your body, make you uncomfortable enough to disrupt your normal activities, or do not get better within a few days may require treatment with prescription medications.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on November 14, 2016

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