Summer First Aid from University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital: What to do About Poison Ivy and Bee Stings

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Dr. Eli Silver offers some tips for dealing with these common summer outdoor problems.

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Sap from the plant causes the rash, so wash the affected area and clothing thoroughly.

Ouch! At some point this summer, you or your child may come into contact with poison ivy or get stung by a bee.

Eli Silver, MD, a pediatric allergy/immunology specialist at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and assistant professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, offers these tips to ease the pain and itching in no time.

Wash up. “Sap from the plant causes the rash, so wash the affected area and clothing thoroughly,” Dr. Silver said.

Apply a topical steroid cream to soothe the itch. “You can also get an oral steroid from your doctor for more severe cases,” he said.

If pain or swelling occurs after contact with a poisonous plant or bee sting, or the irritation will not go away, see your doctor.

Dislodge the stinger containing the venom sack as soon as possible to reduce pain and inflammation.

Apply ice to ease the swelling and a topical cream. Though most people aren’t allergic to bee stings, “allergy shots are available to reduce or eliminate the allergy if necessary,” Dr. Silver said.

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