Poison Ivy: Treating Your Rash and Relieving the Itch


Nothing can ruin a day quite like coming into contact with poison ivy. This plant’s toxic leaves, stems and roots can leave you with a rash that will stay with you for up to three weeks. Take a look at our tips for treating and healing from poison ivy.

Take Immediate Care of Your Skin

1. Start out by removing your clothes that came into contact with the plant and place them into a plastic garbage bag. Then, wash them thoroughly, away from the rest of our laundry.

2. Next, apply rubbing alcohol over the patch of skin that was affected by the poison ivy. This will dissolve the poison oak oils and prevent it from further spreading, although it won’t provide immediate relief. We recommend using over-the-counter cleansers like Tecnu and Zanfel.

3. Rinse the area with cool water. Make sure not to use warm or hot water, as this will open the pores and allow more toxins to set in. If possible, place the spot on the body under cold running water for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. No matter where the rash is located on the body, completely clean the area. The toxins have been transferred to your skin in the form of an oil, so use a dish soap that is used for oil removal to rinse the area.

5. Don’t scratch the rash. Even though it isn’t contagious, the skin could break out. This would allow bacteria to enter the wound. Similar to this, don’t touch or pop any blisters that may form.

6. Cool off the area by applying an icepack to it for 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t apply it directly to the skin, but instead wrap the ice pack in a towel first.

Relieving the Itch Caused by Poison Ivy

1. Apply topical creams like calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to provide some relief from the itching. Don’t do this right after you come in contact with the plant because it could spread the oils. Instead, wait until the itching feeling begins a few hours or days later.

2. Take antihistamines. This kind of medications is usually prescribed to treat allergies, and since poison ivy causes allergic reactions in those who come in contact with it, this drug may provide minor relief.

3. Take an oatmeal bath. When you soak in this product, it will help to alleviate the pain and itch brought on by the poison ivy.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


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