After coming in to contact with poison ivy, the first thing you should do is wash off the affected area. Secondly, you will be desperate to somehow find some relief from the symptoms which will soon start to show. Luckily, there are a variety of poison ivy relief options available to you for consideration. It is very important that you treat the poison ivy rash as quickly as possible, because if you don’t, it will continue to itch and may spread even further across your skin.
Effects of Poison Ivy on Your Skin
Of course the first thing that you need to know if you want to get poison ivy relief is how exactly to identify whether or not you have been affected by poison ivy in the first place. There are a number of symptoms that you should look out for. Basically, poison ivy has such a bad effect because of the urushiol that gets on your skin from the plant. This substance will cause the following basic symptoms:
- Redness will appear on your skin
- You will begin to experience mild or severe itching
- Your skin will begin to swell around the infected area
- You will begin to develop blisters on your skin
Often the rash will be in more or less a straight line. This is because the ivy plant will usually brush against your skin in more or less a straight line. However, the rash can take any shape at all if you, for example, touch a dog or an item of clothing that is contaminated with urushiol.
Usually you may not notice that you have been affected by poison ivy until about 12 to 48 hours after you first come into contact with it. After a while the pain and itching will get progressively worse causing you to seek poison ivy relief.
The best way to achieve poison ivy relief is to avoid the symptoms altogether, and that is made possible by washing all of the urushiol off your skin within ten minutes of being touched by the plant. However, this is easier said than done because:
- Not everyone knows how to identify a poison ivy plant, especially considering that the plant is still poisonous even in winter when it has lost all of its leaves and been reduced to its most basic shape
- There are no immediate symptoms so you may not notice that you have touched the plant in the first place
Have a Hot Shower
One of the best ways to achieve poison ivy relief is by having a hot shower as soon as possible. The shower should be as hot as you can handle in order to more effectively wash away the urushiol on your skin and bring you relief for poison ivy poisoning and its symptoms. The steps here are simple:
- The water needs to be as hot as your unaffected skin can possibly manage
- You will also need to stay in the shower for as long as possible
So basically, you need to stand under the hot water for as long as possible before you simply cannot take the heat anymore. This extreme heat source will wash away the urushiol, but more importantly, it will provide you with poison ivy relief from the poison ivy symptoms for a short period of time. This means that it is not a definitive means of getting relief for poison ivy, but it will give you, at the very least, temporary poison ivy relief while you look into other options. This method also serves to dry out the blisters that are likely to develop with the rash. Of course this will only happen once you are out of the shower, but the sooner the blisters dry up, the sooner your skin will heal, and the sooner you will reach a state where you can say that you have permanent poison ivy relief. Please take note though that burning your skin with unmanageably scorching hot water will just add to the pain you are already experiencing. Only make your shower as hot as you can handle.
Wash Your Clothes Immediately
It is evident that the urushiol is what causes all the problems. So as soon as you have determined that you have a poison ivy rash you need to wash everything that you have touched from the time you think you came into contact with the poison ivy until now. This includes:
- All of the clothes, including socks and shoes, need to be washed thoroughly. Because urushiol has a habit of clinging on, you will need to wash all of your clothes more than once. After about 3 or 4 washes your clothes should be fine. Also remember to wear gloves when handling your clothes, as the last thing you will need is a new infection to add to your discomfort.
- All of the furniture, animals, people and things that you have touched should probably also be scrubbed down. For example, all of the bedding that you have slept in since the time that you think you first came into contact with the poison ivy needs to be washed thoroughly in the same way as your clothes. Your dog will most likely have some urushiol on its coat especially if it was with you when you were exposed, so wash the dog over and over again until you are happy. Again, wear gloves!
The best way to get poison ivy relief is by preventing the rash from spreading as much as you possibly can.
Home Remedies, Creams and Lotions, and Special Medications
There are a number of home remedies that you could consider using. For example having an oatmeal bath can provide you with substantial relief. Just add about 2 or 3 cups of oatmeal to a normal bath and soak for about 20 minutes. If you have access to a jewelweed plant then this will also help you, as rubbing the plant into the infected area will provide you with instantaneous poison ivy relief.
There are a number of over-the-counter creams and lotions that pharmacists recommend for poison ivy relief. These are what you should turn to if your home remedies are not working or if they are proving ineffectual in removing the rash.
In some cases you may need to get some special medication from your doctor in order to combat the symptoms and achieve relief for poison ivy. The most common medications are:
- Atarax (hydroxyzine, a prescription oral antihistamine)
- Aveeno Anti-Itch Cream with Natural Colloidal Oatmeal
- Aveeno 1% Hydrocortizone Anti-Itch Cream (OTC topical steroid)
- Band-Aid Anti-Itch Gel
- Burts’s Bees Poison Ivy Soap
- Caladryl Clear Topical Analgesic Skin Lotion
- Calamine Lotion
- Cortaid Poison Ivy Care Treatment Kit
- Cortizone 10 (OTC topical steroid)
- Cutivate cream 0.05% (prescription topical steroid)
- Domeboro Astringent Solution Powder Packets
- Gold Bond Maximum Strength Medicated Anti-Itch Cream
- Itch-X Anti-Itch Gel with Soothing Aloe Vera
- Ivarest Medicated Cream
- Locoid cream 0.1% (prescription topical steroid)
- Tecnu Extreme Poison Ivy Scrub
- Triamcinolone acetonide 0.1% (prescription topical steroid)
- Zanfel Wash For Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac
Best Relief: Combination
The best way to get poison ivy relief is through a combination of the various methods mentioned above, as you will notice that you will need all the help you can get to combat this. We recommend that you combine the following:
- Take a course of one of the poison ivy relief pills mentioned above
- Make use of a home remedy that is focused on drying out the blisters and on your skin so that you will be able to recover fully.
Poison ivy may have a more severe effect on one person than on another, so not everyone needs to go the route of medication when looking for poison ivy relief. However, if you are serious about getting rid of the rash as quickly and as effectively as possible before it spreads and becomes worse and more painful, then you should definitely consider the combined method. The sooner you start this method the sooner you will be able to rid yourself of the itchiness and the sooner you will be able to get back to life as normal. If you start this poison ivy relief method early you will also find that your symptoms are not as severe as they could have been. As soon as you first suspect that you may have been affected by poison ivy you need to start looking at ways to achieve poison ivy relief so that you will not suffer any long-term effects.
Avoid Using Chemicals
It used to be accepted that to achieve poison ivy relief one could use bleach and other chemicals, but this has long since been disproved, so no matter what you learn on the Internet, bleach is far from being a sensible idea when it comes to getting relief for poison ivy. This should be obvious to any sensible person. Pouring chemicals onto an open wound may well dry out the blisters and provide you with immediate poison ivy relief, but chemicals like bleach will definitely destroy the healthy skin under the infected skin. This is not ideal and will slow down the healing process substantially. On top of that, it is possible that the chemicals could enter your blood stream through the infected part of your skin and this may make you severely ill in the long run. Needless to say this is not a desirable state of affairs and you should attempt to avoid using chemicals of this kind if at all possible. If you get to a point where you feel that you have no other option other than to start pouring huge amounts of chemicals all over your skin then you may need to seek professional help in achieving poison ivy relief. This means that it is time to visit your doctor and get some serious medication to help you overcome this rash.