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Every time your skin comes into contact with an allergen that it doesn’t like, your body’s immune system responds. White blood cells are recruited into the skin, releasing chemical mediators of inflammation. This response causes the itchy rash. The rash may appear minutes, hours or several days after exposure.

Poison ivy is a top cause of allergic contact dermatitis. Other causes include:

  • Fragrances.
  • Metals, such as nickel.
  • Botanicals.
  • Medications, including antibiotics.
  • Preservatives.
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