1. It’s important to identify where the poisonous oils are on your body within a few hours of the incident because the urushiol oil chemically bonds with the proteins in your skin about 30 minutes after contact. 75% of the population is effected by contact with urushiol, although immunity to urushiol today does not assure immunity tomorrow, and vice versa. Rash symptoms can appear within a few hours but can take two to five days to appear.
2. If you come in contact with Poison Ivy, Poison Oak or Poison Sumac, or an animal, or tools, gear, or clothing exposed to any of these, you should wash off with hot water and a strong antimicrobial product as soon as possible. If you can get washed up in the first six hours, before the first symptoms appear, you have a good chance of avoiding an outbreak, and an even better chance of minimizing the effects if you do have one.
3. Once it bonds to cell membranes, urushiol is virtually impossible to wash off and if attached to cell membranes, it becomes a “warning flag”. This attracts patrolling T-cells and initiates a full-blown immune response. Poison oak can even spread through the air from the pollen.