How to Treat Poison Ivy

How to Treat Poison Ivy
Poison ivy is a common plant, found in rural, urban and unspoiled outdoor environments throughout the United States. People can become exposed to poison ivy through direct, indirect or airborne contact.
The plant's oil, called urushiol, can cause human skin irritation, swollen rashes and elevated blisters. While most allergic reactions are mild, the symptoms can cause discomfort or even pain. Luckily, you can treat mild poison ivy rashes at home, though those with more severe conditions should immediately consult a medical professional.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Cleanse all skin and clothing that may have been exposed to the urushiol oil immediately. Wash your skin with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and launder your clothing (and bathe your pets) if they have come in contact with the poison ivy plant. Preventing the rash from spreading can help reduce the skin irritation and intense itch and minimize pain.
Step 2
Take a cool water bath with generous amounts of a colloidal oatmeal product. The Mayo Clinic recommends soaking in an oatmeal bath treatment from Aveeno (see resources below) for at least 20 minutes, as oatmeal provides natural relief for skin itching and irritation caused by poison ivy. Many sufferers will experience soothed skin and require no further treatment. Baking soda is also an excellent addition to a cool-water bath.
Step 3
Self-treat exposed skin with an over-the-counter corticosteroid cream. For mild rashes associated with poison ivy contact, there are many FDA-approved topical treatments available, including Cortaid or Lanacort.
Step 4
Choose a skin lotion with proven, healing ingredients. Look for products that have camphor, menthol or zinc acetate, such as Sarna or calamine lotion. These soothing products can help dry out rashes and oozing blisters and allow skin to heal more quickly.
Step 5
Take an oral antihistamine. If you are having difficulty sleeping, try a dose of diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl) to help minimize the discomfort of your poison-ivy-affected skin.
Step 6
The Mayo Clinic recommends applying cool compresses to the affected area three times a day in 30-minute treatments to help soothe skin and reduce pain.
Step 7
See a medical professional immediately if poison ivy symptoms are widespread, long-lasting, severe or near sensitive body parts. Additionally, individuals with a high body temperature should consult their doctor. A physician may prescribe an oral corticosteroid as part of a treatment plan.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Do not scratch irritated skin; uroshiol can transfer underneath fingernails and cause the rash to spread. Mild conditions should disappear within three weeks time.
 
Do not scratch irritated skin; uroshiol can transfer underneath fingernails and cause the rash to spread.
 
Mild conditions should disappear within three weeks time.
 
Uroshiol oils can remain active on clothing for a long time, so thoroughly cleanse all items that have been exposed. Do not break, squeeze or touch skin blisters, as this can aggravate the condition. Contact a medical professional immediately if the rash is serious or if you have questions and concerns.
 
Uroshiol oils can remain active on clothing for a long time, so thoroughly cleanse all items that have been exposed.
 
Do not break, squeeze or touch skin blisters, as this can aggravate the condition.
 
Contact a medical professional immediately if the rash is serious or if you have questions and concerns.