OSF OnCall Helps Firefighter Extinguish Poison Sumac

Chris Matzke had been clearing brush in his backyard in Hanna City on a recent weekend. When he started to feel itchiness on his left hand afterward, he assumed it was poison ivy, which he’d had several times before. But within a couple of days his hand had turned into a red, blistery rash.

“It got real bad, real fast,” said the Hanna City husband, father of two and firefighter.

Chris Matzke and FamilyChris planned to head to a medical office to have his hand examined, but as his wife had plans that night, he was home with the kids. He used his iPhone to contact OSF OnCall, an online urgent care clinic, and had a consultation with a doctor from his living room.

“I put the phone down to my hand to show the blisters and told her about my yard work,” he said. “She said it looked like poison sumac and said I had probably gotten into the root, where the oil is concentrated.”

He consulted with the doctor through Facetime for about seven minutes. After viewing the rash, she prescribed him prednisone tablets and directed him to use over-the-counter cortisone cream to treat the itching. She also advised him to sleep with a glove on and avoid any contact with his left hand. About 15 minutes after their consultation ended, his local Walgreen’s pharmacy alerted him that the prescription was ready.

“The doctor was very precise and knew exactly what I needed to get the poison sumac under control. I was highly impressed with the service,” said Chris, noting that his skin began to clear soon after starting the prescription. He was also back on his firefighting shift the next day, having saved himself a trip to the waiting room.

For diagnosis and treatment of everything from poison sumac to sinusitis and sore throats, visit OSF OnCall at osfoncall.org.