Plants like poison ivy, sumac, and oak can cause allergies that manifest as red rashes, itchiness and skin bumps and blisters. Before going into detail about poison ivy home remedies, let us look briefly on what poison ivy is like.
Poison ivy, in particular, is a frequent cause of skin rashes among people who spend time a lot of time outdoors. The plant is found throughout the US, except in Alaska, Hawaii and the Southwest, typically growing as a vine along riverbanks. It may be recognized from its shiny green leaves that come in threes and its red stem.
Symptoms of skin allergies from poison ivy include extreme itchiness accompanied by red patchy rashes found on the parts of the body, which touched the plant. Red bumps and weeping blisters are also characteristic of poison ivy reactions. Skin reactions may be mild, but in some cases, these may be severe enough to warrant hospitalization.
Poison Ivy Home Remedies
There are several ways to treat poison ivy symptoms at home:
- Head to the water quickly - If you suspect you have touched poison ivy, wash immediately before the plant oil gets absorbed in the skin.
- Rinse your clothes outside - If you have been in contact with poison ivy, its oil may be in your clothes, which can spread to other objects inside the house like furniture or rugs. So it is advisable to rinse off your clothes, including hunting, camping, and fishing gear. Remember to use gloves when you wash pets, clothes, shoes and other objects that come in contact with the plant oil.
- Take along rubbing alcohol - Remove poison ivy oil with alcohol before it is absorbed into the skin.
- Use a protectant - Products like IvyBlock act as a protectant that helps reduce contact with plant oil. This must be applied before going out into places where poison ivy grows.
- Cool the itch - If itching begins, take a cool shower or bath or place an ice-cold compress on the rashes for a few minutes every hour.
- Soap - Wash off the plant oil with soap and water immediately. It is best to rinse with water first then apply soap, preferably within ten minutes of contact before the oil starts to penetrate the skin. After washing, air-dry your skin. Oil can stick to towels so these should be washed in hot water and laundry detergent as soon as possible.
- Baking soda - Make a paste with baking soda and water, then spread it on the skin area. You can apply this paste three times a day. You can also soak in a lukewarm bath with one cup of baking soda before going to bed.
- Vinegar - Rinsing the skin with vinegar after washing with soap and water relieves many skin reactions, including plant allergies and insect bites.
- Coffee - Cold coffee may be poured on poison ivy rash, like what followers of Appalachian folk medicine did to relieve rashes. Coffee beans are known to contain chlorogenic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Aloe vera - Use sap from aloe vera plants to treat poison ivy rash with its anti-inflammatory properties. Breaking off an aloe vera leaf will produce sap which can be applied directly to the affected area. Allow the sap to dry and wash off. You may reapply this every 2 hours.
- Oats - Soaking in lukewarm water with oatmeal may help to soothe itchy skin and dry up oozing blisters.
- Cold milk - Drench a clean cloth with cold milk and apply against irritated skin. It is more soothing than cold water, probably because of its milk fat.
- Witch hazel - Witch hazel that comes in an alcohol solution may be applied to the skin using a cotton ball.
- Tea bag - Any moist tea bag may be applied to itchy skin. Tea contains tannic acid, which is an astringent that helps shrink inflamed tissues and relieve itching.
- Epsom salt - Relax in a warm, soothing bath containing some Epsom salt, following the directions on the label.
You can also try remedies like potato paste to relieve the inflammation. Learn how:
How to Prevent Poison Ivy Allergy
- Learn about the plants - The appearance of poison ivy may vary in different places. It is typically seen as a vine or a shrub with pointed leaves clustered in threes. Reddish leaves may turn green during summer and may turn to red again during fall. Plants may have graying or white berries. It may not be easy to spot the plant since it may look like other plants like the Virginia creeper. It may also be entwined with English ivy, another type of plant.
- Avoid touching them - If you touch the plant and its oil, and then touch your body, the oil will spread, causing rashes to break out.
- Cover up - When going outdoors, cover yourself with long-sleeved shirts, long pants, boots, and a pair of gloves to create a barrier between the plant and your skin. This is important if you are sensitive to poison ivy, which may be growing in the area.
- Keep your personal objects off the woods - Pets that come into contact with poison ivy can spread its oil to your skin. This is also true for other objects like golf balls, bicycles and gardening tools, so be sure to rinse them before touching them.