|Over-the-Counter Aids: $2-$25||Outpatient Treatment: $10-$200+||Emergency Room Visit: $50-$150+|
Contact with the sap oil of poisonous plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac can trigger an allergic reaction characterized by a red rash, swelling, itching, bumps or blisters. According to dermatologist Ronald R. Brancaccio , a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology , there is no known way to boost immunity to poisonous plants. Though old wives' tales suggest eating poison ivy to stave off its effects, doing so could prove fatal.
Related articles: Emergency Room Visit, Allergy Testing, Allergy Shots, Sunburn Treatment
- Over-the-counter aids to treat mild rashes typically cost $2-$25. For example, the Ace Reusable Cold Compress costs about $9. Other remedies, including antihistamine pills such as Benadryl and 1% hydrocortisone cream cost $5-$10. Anti-inflammatory aids such as buprofen can cost about $5-$25, depending on the quantity and whether the patient buys a name brand or its generic equivalent.
- Those seeking medical treatment would most likely do so through an office visit with a primary care physician, which is typically covered by health insurance. For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of a copay of $10 -$50 or more, or coinsurance of 10-50% or more.
- For patients without health insurance, an office visit typically costs $50-$200 or more. According to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey , a set of large-scale surveys on the use and cost of health services conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the average price of an office visit for an uninsured patient is $199.
- Some patients may need to seek emergency care for a severe allergic response. An emergency room visit typically is covered by health insurance. For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of a copay, usually $50 -$150 or more, which often is waived if the patient is admitted to the hospital. Depending on the plan, costs might include coinsurance of 10%-50%.
- For patients without health insurance, an emergency room visit typically costs from $150 or more, depending on the severity of the condition
What should be included:|
- According to the American Academy of Dermatology patients should consult a physician if their rashes cover a large area of the body, affect sensitive areas such as the face or genitals, are accompanied by severe itching, or show signs of infection. Swelling is also a sign of a serious reaction particularly if it affects the eyes or face.
- The doctor may irrigate or wash the skin. Since rashes from poisonous plants follow set patterns, the doctor will be able to diagnose it on sight and testing won't be needed.
- The AAD advises patients who have difficulty breathing or swallowing after contact with a poisonous plant to seek emergency care.
- According to the Mayo Clinic , a doctor may prescribe an oral corticosteroid, such as Prednisone (about $20-$30 for 1 mg), or if a secondary infection has developed as a result of scratching, an oral antibiotic.
- People who come into contact with poisonous plants should wash the clothing and shoes they wore when they touched the plant. Any tools that came into contact with the plant should be washed with rubbing alcohol (from $2 to $6) or a mix of water and bleach ($3 to $5).
Shopping for poison ivy or poison oak treatment:
- The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services suggests patients ask for a free sample or trial prescription of a drug, or ask doctors whether a less expensive over-the-counter drug may be sufficient to treat the condition.
- Outlets such as Costco and Walmart often sell prescription and over-the-counter drugs at significant savings. Walmart, for example, has a prescription drug program that includes certain generic drugs at commonly prescribed dosages.
- Ten states have tools on their websites that allow consumers to compare the costs of drugs in nearly all pharmacies within their states.
- When buying drugs online, make sure the website carries a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site seal from The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. If the web site is Canadian, make sure the site is certified by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association .
- The AAD has a free search tool to help patients search for dermatologists nearby.
| Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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