Fast Five Quiz: Test Yourself on Key Aspects of Summer Skin Conditions

William James, MD


July 09, 2018

Preventive measures for toxicodendron dermatitis include using barriers. Classic preventive strategies include wearing long sleeves, long pants, and gloves. Vinyl gloves are preferred because they will not absorb the urushiol as readily as leather or fabric gloves. Rubber gloves can be permeable to urushiol.

Approximately 50% to 70% of the US population is susceptible if exposed casually; however, this percentage increases with significant exposure. Approximately 10% to 15% of the population is extremely sensitive. Toxicodendron dermatitis is the most common cause of contact dermatitis in the United States, exceeding all other causes combined.

Characteristics of mild classic lesions:

  • Linear

  • Erythematous, possibly edematous

  • Pruritic or mildly painful

  • May have small vesicles

Characteristics of moderate-to-severe cases:

  • Diffuse areas of erythema and edema

  • Severe pruritus and/or pain

  • Bullae (fluid from bullae does not contain urushiol)

Patch testing is discouraged for toxicodendron dermatitis because it might sensitize an unsensitized individual. However, if contact dermatitis is being considered, patch testing for other allergens might be considered.

For more on toxicodendron dermatitis, read here.


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