Home Remedies for Poison Ivy

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A simple hike in the woods or campout amongst friends can easily turn into a ‘rash’ situation. Go off the beaten path, step too far to the left, or brush up against the wrong tree, and you could come face-to-face with dreaded poison ivy – a common weed-like plant that manifests itself as a plant, bush, or thick, tree-climbing vine. Watch out, you don’t want to battle the consequences, but just in case – brush up on the list of home remedies for poison ivy.


Identifying Poison Ivy [1]

Poison ivy typically produces leaves with three leaflets per stem. The leaves can vary in shape, color, and texture, but most are elliptical, smooth, and shiny. Sometimes, the leaflets are elongated and toothed. In the fall season, the leaves may appear yellow, orange, or red, but are for the most part green. At times, poison ivy can also generate small greenish flowers and produce berries that are off-white or green in color.

Causes and Symptoms

Poison ivy belongs to a plant family known to produce a skin irritant called urushiol, which causes an itchy rash in most individuals – often referred to as urushiol-induced contact dermatitis [2]. After coming in contact with the leaves, stems or roots of the poison ivy plant, symptoms begin to show within eight hours to even as long as one week. The reaction can cause: poison-ivy-home-remedies-3

  • Intense itching with rash
  • Redness
  • Red bumps
  • Red lines or streaks in the skin
  • Blisters that fill with fluid
  • Swelling

Keep in mind that in order to feel the effects of poison ivy, your skin must come in direct contact with the oil that the plant produces.

Poison Ivy Home Remedies

The next time you plan an outing in a wooded area or even plan a day of clearing out your overgrown backyard, consider the threat that poison ivy possesses. And, if you are unlucky enough to meet with the irritating oil of the plant, consider the following home remedies for poison ivy:

a) Calamine Lotion:

Make sure you have a decent supply of calamine lotion throughout the summertime to make sure you are able to provide quick relief for rashes caused by outdoor adventures.

b) Cool, Compresses:

Apply a cool, wet compress to affected body parts for 15 to 30 minutes. Repeat several times a day.

c) Oatmeal:

To stop oozing skin and uncontrollable itching, combine boiled oatmeal with one tablespoon or two of baking soda. Apply a thick layer of the mixture to the skin and wait for it to harden. You can also purchase over-the-counter colloidal oatmeal products (like Aveeno), which are added to a tub full of cool water. Lastly, soak your body for relief.

d) Baking Soda:

Another home remedy for poison ivy combines three teaspoons of baking soda and one teaspoon of water to create a thick paste that is then applied to rashes. Some people have also gained relief by surrounding their body in a full baking soda bath.

e) Aloe Vera Gel:

Promote healing and soothe itchy skin by liberally applying aloe vera gel to rashes.

f) Banana Peel:

Use the inside of a banana peel to bring instant cooling relief to poison ivy rashes.

g) Fel-Naptha Soap:

Although it is a bit tricky to track down, consider this bar soap (often found in the laundry aisle), which works as a drying agent to pull out the poison ivy oils. To promote speedy healing, simply wet affected areas on the body, lather, and then rinse.

h) Table Salt:

After wetting affected areas, rub table salt to stop the spread of poison ivy oils and treat itching. poison-ivy-home-remedies-2

i) Goldenseal:

Treat poison ivy inflammation by taking a goldenseal supplement.

j) Hydrocortisone:

Using hydrocortisone and other over-the-counter corticosteroid creams possessing a high-potency within the first few days of contact can help ease the itching and swelling of poison ivy.

k) Menthol Creams:

Treat itchy skin with creams that contain menthol. When at the pharmacy, scout out products with pramoxine, which produces a local anesthetic effect that treats the itching and pain associated with skin irritations.

l) Benadryl:

Losing sleep? Consider oral antihistamines (like Benadryl) to help you get a good night’s rest.


[1] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/poison-ivy/DS00774/DSECTION=causes
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poison_ivy