Poison Ivy Rash: How to Attack the Itch

How many of you have fallen victim to the “scourge of the woods”? Poison ivy is a problem for campers and hikers alike. The leaves are mistaken for something friendly until you start breaking out in a rash and suffering that uncontrollable itch. Learn how to keep the itching from driving you up a wall.

Poison ivy is a term that can also be applied to poison oak and poison sumac. These plants cause similar symptoms because of a substance they contain – urushiol oil. Contact with anything containing this oil causes a rash. Not only that, the oil can be transferred easily to anything. Stroking a pet that has touched the plant or rubbing your hands on your clothes makes them now contaminated with the irritating oil.

As soon as you think that you have come in contact with poison ivy, remove your clothing (if you are inside) and discard anything that has touched the plant also. Clean your clothes and disinfect other items. As for you, resist the urge to touch the rash or scratch it. Getting the oil under your fingernails will spread it to other parts of your body rather quickly.

Try a few home remedies to fight the terrible looking rash and unrelenting itch that will inevitably follow your discovery that you are a victim of poison ivy. Home remedies are less irritating to the body than over-the-counter ones. Also, you can put together a home remedy much quicker than running to the store. Here are some:

1. Banana peels. Most people eat bananas. Give the banana to a friend and use the peel to soothe your itch. Rubbing the inside of the peel on the poison ivy rash has been known to relieve itching.

2. Colloidal oatmeal. It works for kids with chicken pox, so why not use it for poison ivy? Add the oatmeal to a running bath and soak in it to relieve your pain. This works well for people who have spread the rash to other areas of their body before they noticed it. Try a natural oatmeal soap to clean your body after you've soaked.

3. Calamine lotion. The (most often pink) stuff is good for relieving itch and inflammation from poison ivy rashes. Apply generously.

4. Calendula leaves. If you have this plant around, use some calendula leaves to create an herbal paste and apply to the rash to soothe your skin.

5. Vinegar and water. These two components seem to have many applications, from medicinal to household products. Mix vinegar with water and use a damp rag to apply to a localized poison ivy rash. Vinegar has antibacterial properties and acts as an astringent. It will relieve the itch and inflammation.

There are substances around your home that can work to relieve the itch of poison ivy rashes. These five will get you started. Hopefully you won’t suffer from your itch too much as your body heals from the rash.