Poison Oak, Ivy or Sumac Put in Garbage Handle with Care Touching any part of the poison oak, ivy or sumac plant — including its leaves, roots, flowers, berries, and vines — will expose you to urushiol, a toxic resin that can irritate your skin and cause rashes. Extreme care should be taken to ensure no skin contact is made with any part of the plant. Clothing and tools should be washed after handling this plant, as urushiol can remain active on surfaces — including dead poison oak / ivy / sumac plants — for years. Never Burn Poison Oak Inhaling the fumes from a burning poison oak plant can result in severe respiratory problems and harmful whole-body reactions. Did You Know? Can You Be “Immune” to Poison Oak / Ivy / Sumac? A rash from touching these “poison” plants is actually an allergic reaction to the urushiol in the plant. Some individuals may not experience any reaction after contact with these plants, especially after the first time, but sensitivity can appear at any time, with repeated exposure resulting in more severe reactions.