What Are the Symptoms of Poison Oak?

Poison oak features the same irritating agent as poison ivy, an oily substance known as urushiol which resides within the sap of both plants. Contact with urushiol leads to a rash and other burdensome symptoms.


The most immediate symptoms relating to poison oak remain the appearance of a reddish rash, swelling, blisters and severe itching in the infected area. Within a few days, the itching will subside and the blisters will begin to scale over.


Cold showers, wet compresses and calamine lotion offer relief from such symptoms as itchy skin.


Do not scratch at your rash. Although you cannot spread the rash through open blisters, an infection and subsequent symptoms may spread due to germs.


The appearance of the rash tends to match the exact location in which the poison oak came in contact with your skin. Contact with urushiol from a larger surface area, such as a pet, may lead to a more widespread rash.

Time Frame

Urushiol can penetrate the skin in mere minutes following contact. The actual symptoms may not actually appear, however, until 12 to 48 hours later. The condition tends to clear up in about 10 days, but may last as long as three weeks.

Poison oak features the same irritating agent as poison ivy