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Case Study

Poison oak contact dermatitis


Keywords | Summary | Correspondence | References


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Toxicodendron or Rhus contact dermatitis is quite common in North Americas and Asia. We report a case of an occupational bullous poison oak dermatitis in a geographer from Germany. Major allergens are the urushiols. The treatment consists of topical corticosteroids are topical calcineurin inhibitors. Rarely, systemic corticosteroids may be necessary, since erythema multiforme due to Rhus dermatitis has been observed.


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Address of Correspondence

Prof. Dr. med. Uwe Wollina
Klinik für Dermatologie und Allergologie
Krankenhaus Dresden-Friedrichstadt
Akademisches Lehrkrankenhaus der TU Dresden
Friedrichstra.e 41
D-01067 Dresden


The treatment of Rhus dermatitis consists of topical corticosteroids or topical calcineurin inhibitors. Sun protection is recommended to reduce the risk of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. For more severe cases a short course of systemic corticosteroids may be necessary. Oral antihistamines are useful to reduce the itch [7, 12, 13]. A better option is prevention by avoiding contact to these plants and wearing protective clothes [7].


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11. Oka K, Saito F, Yasuhara T, Sugimoto A. A study of cross-reactions between mango contact allergens and urushiol. Contact Dermatitis. 2004; 51(5-6): 292-6. 12. Goodall J. Oral corticosteroids for poison ivy dermatitis. CMAJ. 2002; 166(3): 300-1.
13. Wollina U, Hansel G, Koch A, Abdel-Naser MB. Topical pimecrolimus for skin disease other than atopic dermatitis. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2006; 7(14): 1967-75.



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