Best Treatments for Poison Ivy
Poison ivy is almost everywhere, and even though it is easy to spot, it can be easily overlooked until it is too late. It is always a good idea to wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants, if you are going to be hiking in unfamiliar territory or going to engage in some serious gardening or landscaping. While not dangerous to those without an acute allergy, poison ivy is incredibly uncomfortable and is best avoided whenever possible! Poison ivy is not contagious but if there is any remaining oil on your skin it can be transferred to others. Keep reading to learn more about the best treatments for poison ivy.
If you are exposed to poison ivy, it can take from one to three weeks for the rash and discomfort to dissipate. In the meantime, these tips can help to lessen your suffering. The first thing that you should do is thoroughly wash the affected area with sudsy water to be sure that all of the oil is gone. Water is calming to the skin and soaking the rash-affected area multiple times a day can bring great relief. Add an oatmeal-based product to increase the soothing feeling of the cool-water soak. Cold compresses are another effective way to gain some relief from the itching and burning.
Calamine lotions are a tried and tested remedy that will help to relieve itching, be sure to wash off any old lotion before reapplying. Cortisone is another option, and this over the counter cream can accelerate healing while reducing the rash on the affected area. Oral antihistamines are also effective in reducing the itchiness of the rash, with Benadryl the most popular and effective choice. This remedy is especially helpful at bedtime as it can induce drowsiness when sleep can be difficult due to discomfort.
If you prefer a home remedy, try mixing baking soda with water in a 3:1 ratio to create a paste. Apply the paste directly on the rash, ensuring that the skin is dry prior to application. Cucumber is another effective natural remedy, whether added to the paste or when slices are placed on the rash. Aloe vera gel can also provide relief when applied directly to freshly washed skin. Witch hazel and apple cider vinegar are effective in relieving itchiness and any burning sensations that may be associated with the rash. Apply directly to the rash after a thorough cleaning with soap and water.
Poison ivy can ruin anyone’s day, but if you stay on the lookout and wear appropriate clothing you can prevent exposure. While the rash can last up to three weeks, the symptoms will dissipate well before then. Keep some calamine lotion on hand if you live in a woodsy area or are an avid hiker. Poison ivy, while uncomfortable and annoying, is not considered a health risk and it can be safely treated at home. There are also many natural remedies that are effective, and cool-water soaks can also help to ease any suffering.