Gardening Gurus Get Hives, Rashes and Itches

Hazardous plants may create eczema allergic reactions

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Gardening enthusiasts are out in full force. The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and critters are crawling. For some people, touching hazardous plants may irritate eczema and allegeies.

People who have sensitive skin, eczema, or are alleregic to certain plants may experience more severe or long-lasting effects that require medical attention. 

"Gardeners should wear protective clothing and gloves."

Dr. Julian J. Trevino, an associate professor of dermatology at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine issued a news release warning against direct contact with hazardous plants.

Dr. Trevino said "While most of the skin reactions resulting from direct contact with a hazardous plant are more of a nuisance than anything else, there are some instances where the reaction can affect the entire body and pose a potentially more serious risk."

Most irritation from direct plant contact is just bothersome, but Dr. Trevino notes sometimes it can be more serious. Poison ivy, poison oak and sumac are the most common plants causing rash problems.

Cacti and prickly pear plants, while less common, are concerning as their prickly spines pierce the skin which causes itching, rash or staph and fungal infections.

In Depth

  • Pet exposure to hazardous plants can also be transported to their owners through direct touch
  • Even airborne contact with urushiol (the sap from these plants) is possible in the fall or winter when these poisonous plants are being burned  and inhaled may result in a widespread rash and severe irritation in the respiratory tract
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 17, 2011
Last Updated:
April 25, 2012