Skin rash from Virginia creeper vine

Q: My skin rash came from pulling Virginia creeper vine. I didn’t know it would cause a rash but here you have it. The photos are of Day 2 and then Day 9… when I finally had to go get steroids to stop it. It had spread all over my body by then.

I didn’t have gloves on and thought I’d just grab a few weeds from underneath my rose bushes. I saw the vine and tried to avoid it, but clearly I still brushed against it as evidenced by the line on my arm in the first picture.

Despite putting hydrocortisone on it for a week, it still spread everywhere. But I’m feeling much better now after the steroids and an antibiotic.

A: I’m glad you’re feeling better! The technical term for what you had is phytodermatitis: an allergic inflammatory skin reaction in response to the sap of particular plants.

Virginia creeper is not usually a culprit but the proof is in the pudding! This five-leafed vine is often confused with three-leafed poison ivy.

A skin rash from poison ivy is just about universal for people but a skin reaction from Virginia creeper is not common.

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