Remedies for Poison Ivy

As all sufferers will know, symptoms brought on by contact with poison ivy can be nearly unbearable. This is because the urushiol reacts with the skin to form itchy rashes, swelling, and even fluid-filled blisters. This discomfort can last for quite some time, so you should seek a poison ivy remedy as soon as possible. It should be comforting to learn, then, that you may have the ingredients for a home remedy already stocked in your kitchen.

For those of you who are perhaps not at home at the time of contact; there are also a number of over-the-counter creams, lotions and medication which could also act as remedies for poison ivy.

Remedies to Try

In the case of a poison ivy contamination, you should never be apprehensive to see a doctor if you feel that your experience may be worse than it should be. Many of the home remedies may help you, but you may find that they are not as affective for you as they were for the people who recommended them. So your best bet may be proper medications. It may even be better to go to a specialist if you are looking for a poison ivy remedy because doctors such as dermatologists may be better equipped for dealing with your skin rash than your family doctor. They will also be aware of which drugs to avoid, because some of the anti-allergy drugs could, in fact, make your symptoms even worse.

If you are using the Internet to search for a poison ivy remedy then you will probably run into quite a few incorrect ideas. Rather take the advice of medical sites where the information can be trusted, as opposed to blogs where simply anyone can post unfounded treatments. It may be better to always check with a doctor before you decide to use one of the cures that you have found online.

Antihistamine Pills

An antihistamine pill will be able to relieve your itching and dry out your blisters. Two of the more common antihistamine pills used for treating poison ivy are Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Vistaril (hydroxyzine).

Before you decide whether or not you need to take antihistamine pills you will need to determine whether or not it is in fact poison ivy that you came into contact with. So make sure of the facts before proceeding with your treatment.

Most of the antihistamine pills that are good for treating poison ivy are found over the counter for run of the mill allergies that anyone can have. Make sure that the pills you buy contain either chlorpheniramine maleate or diphenhydramine hydrochloride, as these are the ingredients necessary for dealing with the poison ivy rash.

If you use these antihistamine pills and find that all that happens is that your poison ivy rash gets worse, you will need to consult a medical professional immediately who will then be able to point you in the right direction, and perhaps provide you with medication that does and will work for you. Many people have an adverse reaction to antihistamines when they have poison ivy rashes and they therefore need an alternative form of medication.


If you have either a moderate or a severe rash, then you may be able to treat that rash with corticosteroids. These can be administered in one of the following forms:

  • Pills
  • Products that are spread on the skin (such as creams, ointments, and gels)
  • Shots

Usually you will be given prednisone in order to combat the effects of poison ivy on your skin. The effects are very noticeable and could even be described as dramatic, as most people benefit instantly from this drug. If you have a choice, you should take oral medication as a poison ivy remedy as this has been shown to work far better than other remedies. You will, in all likelihood, have to continue to take these pills until the symptoms completely vanish, and it is important that you stick to that cycle and complete the medication in order to completely and successfully eradicate your symptoms. The length of time that you will have to do this highly depends on the severity of your rash and how quickly you sought a medical poison ivy remedy after first noticing your rash.

Creams and gels that you apply to the skin will reduce the redness and swelling that usually accompanies a poison ivy rash. Some examples of these medications are clobetasol (such as Temovate), betamethasone (such as Diprolene), and fluticasone (such as Cutivate). These creams/gels are mostly used for their anti-inflammatory properties when treating a variety of skin conditions. You will be advised to use the medication for a recommended amount of time, and failing to do so could be to your detriment as it may then not clear up all your symptoms. If you have rashes on your face or other sensitive areas, do not use this poison ivy remedy as it will cause the skin to become thin and fragile. For these areas you should consult a doctor.

If, for any reason you are unable to take corticosteroid pills, you may need to be given shots of Triamcinolone, which is a long-acting synthetic corticosteroid. These should offer you the same relief as the pills would.

Barrier Creams and Lotions

Apart from the corticosteroid creams mentioned above there are additional barrier creams and lotions that you could buy that exist to prevent the urushiol from spreading. Specifically, they prevent the urushiol from coming into contact with your skin before you are infected. These are useful if you are going out into an area where you know you will encounter poison ivy or if you are attempting to remove some poison ivy form your own home. You definitely do not want to touch it so it is better that you cover yourself in barrier creams, and of course wear gloves and try to cover as much exposed skin as possible. However, before application, be sure to carefully research the barrier creams that you are interested in making use of. This is because you will find that some of the creams are more potent than others, and you will want to get something that has been proven to work. A lot of these creams are ineffectual for most people who use them, which means that you will be going into a poison ivy area essentially unprotected.

List of Common Remedies and Treatments

There are some remedies for poison ivy that are better known than others. Many of them will need you to get a doctor’s prescription, while others can be bought over the counter. Doctors do not tend to agree regarding what the ‘best’ poison ivy remedy actually is, but you will find that most of the remedies listed below will be enough to get you through the rash. It is important that you consult your doctor or pharmacist before you try one of these remedies for poison ivy because different people react in different ways to these medications.

  • 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
  • IvyStat
  • 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

Remedies for Poison Ivy That You Should AVOID

There are a number of medications that are often used for allergies and rashes in patients that should specifically be avoided if you are a poison ivy sufferer. None of the remedies listed below would be considered a good poison ivy remedy, so make sure that you are aware of what exactly it is you are buying when you go to the pharmacy to get some relief from your poison ivy symptoms. All of the medications below may well make your symptoms even worse than they already are, and you need to be sure that your doctor is not prescribing you something dangerous when you go to him or her for a poison ivy remedy.

  • Antihistamines Applied to the Skin
  • Anaesthetics Applied to the Skin
  • Antibiotics Containing Neomycin

Home Remedies

There are a number of home remedies for poison ivy which you may find effective in dealing with this terrible rash. If you are, for example, someone who eats oatmeal, then you have a poison ivy remedy right there in your own kitchen. You can bathe in oatmeal or turn it into a paste and apply it to your skin as a compress. You could also do things like rub lemon juice into the rash. The acidity will cause the affected area to sting a little bit, but it will dry out your blisters and in the long run it will improve your symptoms.

In Conclusion

Some people are just more fortunate than others in this matter, so you may find that you have to try a few doctor-prescribed remedies for poison ivy before you are able to completely shake the illness. However, in the long run, you will find that getting a proper poison ivy remedy from a pharmacy or doctor’s office will result in a far quicker recovery. If you combine your medication with a home remedy specifically aimed at drying out your blisters, then you will probably be able to shake the rash even more quickly than anticipated.