Q. Several weeks ago you had a question from someone about using poison ivy extract to get rid of warts. You suggested that this is a bad idea and not very safe.
I am a retired dermatologist and disagree with your opinion. It is much better to have poison ivy dermatitis than a mosaic plantar wart. Poison ivy is a nuisance that clears in a week or two and is nicely controlled. Very severe cases are uncommon but even those are no match for a mosaic plantar wart. Having one on the sole of your foot would be like walking on a 50 cent piece in your shoe.
If I can relieve a patient by scratching in a drop of poison ivy extract and exciting an immune response to the wart I have done a great favor for that patient.
A. We discouraged the use of poison ivy as a home remedy for warts because it requires great caution. A dermatologist who can apply an extract under controlled conditions would be much less likely to create a serious complication for a highly susceptible patient.
Thank you for sharing your expertise. We still think using poison ivy against warts is best left to professionals.