Dermatitis from poison ivy or from poison oak is still a common form of seasonal dermatitis in many portions of the country. For the hypersensitive person, the cutaneous reactions may be severe and may recur even with repeated episodes during a single season. Secondary complication, especially extensive pyogenic infection, may give rise to serious visceral involvement. There is as yet no good control program for the eradication of these poisonous plants on a community basis. Small local programs are possible with chemical measures of weed control. There are various techniques for preseasonal attempts at hyposensitization with extracts of these plants given orally or parenterally; however, from a purely clinical aspect, the symptomatic treatment of the acute dermatitis can give the patient considerable relief and can reduce the period of severe dermatitis.
In order to evaluate treatment of such a self-limited disorder as dermatitis from poison ivy or from poison oak,