Medically the review by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — written by Rebecca Morris — to update on march 7, 2019

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You are watching: Home remedies for poison ivy itch relief


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It start innocently enough. Friend chop down a scraggly shrub when trimming your lawn. Then, her arms and also legs start tingling and turn red. Before you understand it, there’s an itchy rash. Lot too so late you realize the shrub was in reality poison ivy.

Finding poison ivy is simple in the joined States, wherein it grows virtually almost everywhere except because that Alaska, Hawaii, and some desert areas of the Southwest. It likewise grows in components of Canada, Mexico, and also Asia.

It’s basic to identify by its clusters of three pointed leaves. In the spring, the leaves deserve to have a red tint. Castle turn environment-friendly in summer and various shades of red, yellow, or orange in the fall.


exactly how it spreads

Poison ivy to produce an oil dubbed urushiol that reasons a decision in around 85 percent of civilization who come in contact with it, notes the American Academy that Dermatology.

The decision isn’t contagious to others. This is because it’s a skin reaction come the oil. However, the oil itself have the right to spread come others.

Urushiol is tenacious. It’ll stick to nearly anything: your clothes and shoes, camping and gardening equipment, also your pets’ or horses’ coats.

It deserve to transfer to and from your hands to her cell phone or any kind of object friend touch and also spread come others. And also it’s in practically every part of the plant: leaves, stems, also the roots. Brushing versus a winter-bared vine have the right to still reason the rash.

Read on for some methods to prevent gaining a toxicity ivy rash.


1. Dress for success

If you understand you’re heading into a toxicity ivy stronghold, prepare by covering as much of your skin as possible. Good frontline defenses include:

long-sleeved shirtspants, which deserve to be tucked into socks if neededhatsheavy-duty rubber glovessocksclosed-toe pair of shoes
2. Lather, rinse, repeat

Rinsing her skin v lukewarm, soapy water or rubbing alcohol within around an hour of poignant poison ivy have the right to remove the urushiol and assist you protect against a decision — or at least make it much less severe.

You’ll also need to to wash anything rather that’s come into contact with the plant. Urushiol have the right to remain potent for years. Omitted the cleanup could lead to one more rash later.

Some human being swear that dishwashing fluid can aid wash the oil from your skin. Various other specialty washes include commodities by brand such together Burt’s Bees, Ivarest, and also Tecnu.


3. Block the oil

If a preventative measure is what you after, over-the-counter (OTC) creams can delay urushiol from penetrating the skin. Friend can get IvyX and other barrier creams from your regional drugstore or online.

The cream needs to be thickly applied all over your skin less than one hour before you mean to it is in exposed to a poison ivy plant. If you exposed, you have to wash all the cream off within four hours that the exposure to save your skin from taking in the urushiol.


4. Wash, rinse, soak

If girlfriend do construct a toxicity ivy rash, suppose it to take one to 3 weeks to clear up. Wash well v soap and also lukewarm water come get any kind of residual oil off the skin as soon as friend can.

Once the decision develops, water deserve to be soothing and help ease itching and burning. Soaking in cool-water baths include an oatmeal-based product such as one by Aveeno should carry out relief, follow to the mayo Clinic.

Also, put a cool, wet compress ~ above the rash because that 15 to 30 minutes number of times a day have to help.


5. Cortisone and also calamine

OTC cortisone creams and also calamine odor can assist ease several of the itchiness that a poison ivy rash. Follow the brand directions as soon as applying. Make certain to wash and also dry the area before reapplying.

Other products that may assist with itching include:

a 3-to-1 proportion of baking soda to water paste used to the skin cucumber slices placed on the rash

You can likewise mash increase cucumber right into a paste and also apply to the rash to soothe her skin.


6. Try oral antihistamines

OTC antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can assist ease her itching and inflammation, too. Benadryl has actually the included benefit of make some world sleepy. This could aid boost her comfort at bedtime.

There are many other OTC antihistamines. Speak to her pharmacist because that advice on choices.

Don’t use an antihistamine cream to her rash, though. It deserve to actually do the itching worse.

Applying rubbing alcohol to a rash can aid dry the up and prevent infection. Some other residence remedies that act together astringents and can dry up a poison ivy decision include:

witch hazelapple cider vinegara dough of baking soda and also water
7. Speak to the professionals

If her rash is widespread, ~ above your confront or genitals, or has actually caused many blisters, call your doctor. They’ll have the ability to prescribe a steroid, such together prednisone, to help ease the itching and inflammation.

Depending on your condition and your doctor’s preference, you may be given steroid pills, a shot, or topical preparations such together gels, ointments, or creams.

See more: Correct Answer: How Do I Get My Photos Out Of The Cloud To Any Device

Sometimes if you scrape your skin or your blisters rest open, girlfriend can develop a bacterial infection. Your doctor can give you a prescription antibiotic if the happens. The prescription might be for pills, a cream, or both.


8. Head because that help

If friend have any type of of the complying with symptoms, head come the emergency room or urgent care center:


last medically the review on July 9, 2018


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Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — created by Rebecca Morris — updated on in march 7, 2019

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