Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Information Center

Q&A Board

Re: Rubbing can spread the rash

Subject: Re: Rubbing can spread the rash
Author: Jim
Date: 5/13/2003 1:32 pm
Views: 8855
Status: Approved
« Previous Thread
Next Thread »
Back To Message List
Hi Glen,

Ah, thats why.

The fast facts came about because so many people were asking if they could spread the rash to other people and themselves. The common word was always contagious as in "Is the rash contagious?" or "Is poison ivy contagious?". This isn't the first site to use contagious of course. I then researched medical and research sites and found the word contagious was always used when describing this concept of not spreading it. I have seen references as you mention as contagious but only by individuals in message boards and never with supporting evidence.

Obviously, if you already have the rash then uruhsiol oil has bonded to your skins protein cell and you can not spread that oil further because the actual rash is a delayed response of your immune system attacking this bonded urushiol protein cell. I wouldn't call water or dirt contagious either and they both can be passed to other parts of our body or to others but you might agree that this could possibly fit websters definition above.

So its a catch 22. You says it contagious because you see the rash spread... but the rash is your bodies immune response to you passing some oil via towels, hands, sheets, etc. You pass it the same way that you would pass dirt or water to other parts of your body. The oil doesn't cause the rash. It is your bodies immune system trying to remove the oil that causes the rash. NOTE! For the rest of us we can say the oil causes the rash but technically it is the immune response.

I'll take another look and see what I can do to clear it up. Any advice on making this distinction. This has been very helpful for me in understanding your distinction; although I must admit that saying poison ivy is not contagious seems like the most accurate statement given the realities of how it works and my experience with it.

Anyone else confused about all this? The issue is with the fast facts page stating that the poison ivy rash is not contagious.

Rubbing can spread the rash (Approved)Glenn Jones5/13/2003 9:41 am
  Re: Rubbing can spread the rasJim5/13/2003 10:03 am
    Re: Rubbing can spread the ras (Approved)Glenn Jones5/13/2003 11:02 am
      Re: Rubbing can spread the rasJim5/13/2003 1:32 pm
      Re: Rubbing can spread the ras (Approved)Jeff5/13/2003 12:28 pm