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When Will I Know if I Have Poison Oak?

How long does it take to start feeling the effects of poison oak exposure?

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Question:

How long does it take to start feeling the effects of poison oak exposure?

Submitted by – -David, Vallejo, CA

Answer:

Individual sensitivity to urushiol—the reaction-causing oil in poison oak, ivy and sumac—varies.

The very sensitive have felt the effects in as little as two hours. Many people react within six hours.

The less sensitive have taken as long as a week or more to react. Remember you can reduce or even eliminate a reaction by washing ASAP after contact with poison oak with cold water and a liquid soap. Wash and six to seven times, and wash any clothing or gear that might have come in contact with urushiol.—Buck