How Long Does Poison Oak Last?

Poison oak, just like poison ivy and poison sumac, causes allergic contact dermatitis because of the presence of urushiol oil. This oil is naturally found in these plants’ roots, leaves and twigs. When the urushiol oil comes in contact with the skin (usually sensitive skin), rashes develop and begin to appear within 8 to 72 hours and 7 to 10 days for people who just had their first contact with the oil. But how long does poison oak last? How long will it take for the rashes to heal?


Many cases of poison oak rashes lasted for 2 to 3 weeks depending on the gravity of the situation. The time it takes for the rashes to heal varies on the exposure of skin to the oil and any possible complications. If the rashes are more severe, then its healing period is expected to take longer. Such cases may last longer than 3 weeks. However, this healing period does not mean 2 or 3 weeks of insane itching. The worst kind of itching usually takes place on the first week after the development of the rash. Then gradually, and if the rashes are properly taken care of, the itching subsides with the pustules or blisters healing.

Treatment of Poison Oak

Proper treatment of poison oak rashes will definitely help speed up the healing process, making the rashes last for a shorter period. Scratching the rashes, no matter how tempting it gets, is highly discouraged for it only irritates the skin further, and even worse, opens the possibility of an infection. Bacterial infection will only prolong the irritation and agony and will also cost more with the requirement of antibiotics.

To prevent infection and from further worsening the poison oak rashes, there are a few tips and tricks to relieve the itchiness. A standard calamine lotion is highly recommended to soothe the skin. Calamine lotion can be applied as many times as you want. The soothing abilities of this lotion really make a difference. But apart from calamine lotion, soothing your irritated skin may mean as simple as ice. Ice numbs the rashes and holds the itchiness for some time. And the good thing is ice does this without hurting and irritating the skin further. Just use a towel with which to wrap the ice and simply press it on itchy areas. Another home remedy that will do the trick is oatmeal. It is an excellent remedy for it has properties that are able to soothe itchy skin well. So an oatmeal bath or a topical oatmeal lotion will definitely help relieve you of a poison oak rash.

However, if these simple home remedies do not appeal and comfort you, then topical and oral analgesics just might do. These are anti-itch solutions that could be bought over the counter at the nearest drug store. There are also drugs and medications (corticosteroid) that your doctor may prescribe. Prednison is an example of this medication and it helps reduce itching and swelling. So whether you choose these prescription drugs or the simpler remedies, the goal is still to lessen the itchiness while preventing further irritation. How you treat the poison oak rashes will still determine how long these rashes last.

One Response to “How Long Does Poison Oak Last?”

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  1. Suzanne says:

    I usually go to the doctor and receive a shot. I had poison oak so bad a couple of years ago I received two shots within a week and a half

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