What happens when a poisonous plant touches the skin?

Maoshing Ni, PhD, LAc
Geriatric Medicine
Poisons oak, ivy and sumac all contain an oily chemical known as urushiol, which irritates your skin and can produce a severe allergic reaction. While up to 30 percent of people are immune to these urushiol-induced allergies, those of us who are not so lucky can experience serious discomfort when we come in contact with this plant --including itching, redness, oozing skin and severe burning pain where the plant touched your skin.

Continue Learning about Allergies



About one out of five Americans suffers from allergies. An allergy is an exaggerated response from the immune system to a substance such as dust, pollen, pet dander or mold. Other common triggers include foods such as peanuts and ...

milk; insect bites; and certain ingredients in cosmetics and jewelry. Allergies can cause anything from rashes and hives to itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, and wheezing.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.