Plant (Poison Oak or Ivy) and Other Causes of Contact Dermatitis

  • M. Eric Gershwin
  • Edwin L. Klingelhofer


Allergic contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin characterized by redness and the formation of vesicles; vesicles are similar to blisters. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs after exposure to a wide variety of substances—many of which are also capable of causing nonallergic irritation. This irritant reaction appears following injury to cells as a result of direct contact with the offending substance; the allergic response develops after repeated contacts with a sensitizer, which eventually provokes an immune inflammatory side reaction in the body. In practice, it is often difficult to distinguish allergic from irritant contact dermatitis. Table 20 lists ways in which they differ.


Contact Dermatitis Allergic Contact Dermatitis Irritant Contact Dermatitis Repeated Contact Susceptible Person 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Eric Gershwin
    • 1
  • Edwin L. Klingelhofer
    • 2
  1. 1.University of California Medical SchoolDavisUSA
  2. 2.California State UniversitySacramentoUSA

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