Poison ivy is a very common skin allergy, caused due to plants, such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. These plants release a sticky and oily substance, called ‘urushiol’, which is an allergen. It develops red and itchy rashes on the skin in around 12 to 48 hours of its exposure. The severity of the rashes depends on the quantity of urushiol that your skin gets touched with. Poison ivy can be really itchy and irritating. The blisters can be in the form of lines, or small bumps filled with a fluid-like thing. It is very easy to catch a poison ivy rash, though it is not contagious. Therefore, it needs to be treated as soon as possible.
The main cause of poison ivy is an oily substance ‘urushiol’ found in plants, like poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak. It is an allergen, which is present in almost every part of these plants, like leaves, stem, flowers, fruits and even roots. It may spread due to:
- Direct contact with the leaves, flowers or any other part of the plant.
- Indirect contact with the clothes or any other equipment that are contaminated with the oil.
- Even the smoke released due to the burning of these plants can cause the allergy.
- Bumpy blisters filled with fluid
- Raised areas (hives)
- Swelling in the area
Home Remedies for Poison Ivy
1. Wash the Area with Cold Water
Keep the area affected with poison ivy rashes under cold water for about 10-15 minutes. This will give an instant relief from the itchiness till you apply any remedy while it will also clean the area.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Dab a cotton ball into some apple cider vinegar and apply it on the rashes. Now, rinse it off with a mixture of vinegar and water. Apple cider vinegar is a proven remedy for healing poison ivy rashes.
3. Rubbing Alcohol
To treat severe poison ivy rash, rub some rubbing alcohol and then, sprinkle some medicated body powder on the area. Now, wrap it with a clean cloth or gauze. It will give relief from itchiness.
4. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is another home remedy to treat poison ivy. Soak a cotton ball in witch hazel and apply it on the rashes.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is one of the best ways to get rid of poison ivy as it is really soothing to treat skin allergies. Apply fresh aloe vera gel on the blisters. Aloe vera is a natural healer due to its excellent anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and therefore, good for treating poison ivy on face.
6. Vinegar Compress
Take ½ cup of white vinegar and mix it with 1½ cups of water. Cool down this solution in the refrigerator for some time. Now, dampen a piece of cloth in this solution and place it over the area, affected with poison ivy rashes. It is one of the best ways to heal poison ivy.
7. Apply banana peel
Banana peel is also a good cure for poison ivy. In order to get relief from the itchiness caused due to the rash, rub the inside part of the banana peel on it.
8. Calamine Lotion
Apply calamine lotion on the rashes. It is a good remedy to get relief from the itchiness and to dry up poison ivy.
9. Tea Bag
It is one of the good poison ivy cures that work. Soak a tea bag in plain water and place it on the rash. Tea contains tannic acid, which is a good astringent and quickly relieves from itching and inflammation, caused due to the poison ivy.
10. Apply Coffee
Brew a cup of coffee and let it cool for some time. Dab some on the skin, affected with the rash. Coffee gives relief from inflammation as it contains anti-inflammatory agents, like chlorogenic acid. It is a good way to get rid of poison ivy on your skin.
11. Plantain Leaves
Pick some plantain (lawn weed) leaves and place it as a bandage on the rashes. It contains an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial compound, called allantoin, which is good for poison ivy rashes.
12. Baking Soda
Make a paste of baking soda and water in the ratio 3:1. Apply this paste on the rashes and let it dry. Apply this paste at least twice or thrice a day. Baking soda is one of the best treatments for poison ivy.
13. Epsom Salt Bath
Put some Epsom salt in a bath tub, containing water. Soak yourself for some time in this water. Epsom salt is a good poison ivy blisters treatment as it quickly dries out the rashes.
14. Cold Milk
Apply some cold milk to get relief from the itchiness of poison ivy rashes. This remedy also helps in drawing out the fluid from the poison ivy blisters. If you are allergic to milk, you can also apply buttermilk or yoghurt
Grate a cucumber and apply it on the skin, impinged with the rashes. Cucumber is good for skin and will naturally soothe the blister.
16. Oatmeal Bath
Grind some oatmeal and put it in a bucket, filled with lukewarm water. Have bath with this water. Oatmeal is one of the best natural remedies as it dries up poison ivy, as well as gives relief from poison ivy itch.
Potato is an anti-inflammatory, and therefore, it is one of the most effective home remedies to heal poison ivy. Blend a potato to form its paste. Then, apply it over the area, affected with poison ivy rashes.
You can also apply vodka in order to neutralize the effect of poison ivy blisters.
Crack some acorns and boil them. After some time, strain this solution and dab it with a piece of cloth on the itchy rashes. Acorns give relief from the prickliness, resulted due to poison ivy.
20. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is useful for removing the toxins, present in any type of skin infection. Soak a cotton ball in lemon juice and apply it on the rashes. Lemon is a natural astringent, and greatly helps in healing the poison ivy blisters.
21. Watermelon Rind
Apply cold watermelon rind on the area. Watermelon is really cooling and acts as a cold compress over the rashes while the juice helps to dry poison ivy rash.
Form a paste of goldenseal in some apple cider vinegar or water. Apply this paste on the affected skin. Goldenseal is an effective home remedy to treat poison ivy or poison oak rashes.
23. Himalayan Crystal Salt
Mix some Himalayan crystal salt and water to form a paste. Apply it over the affected area in order to get relief from the itchiness. This remedy also dries out the blisters.
24. Pascalite Clay
Apply a paste of pascalite clay over the poison ivy rashes, and let it dry. Pascalite helps to draw the harmful toxins and fluids from the blisters while drying it out and eliminating the itchiness.
Soak your body in a bath tub, containing ½ cup of bleach mixed with water. You can also mix a teaspoon of bleach in some water and apply it as a compress. Bleach works well on poison ivy, though it also has certain side effects.
This is one of the best methods to get rid of the poison ivy fast. Cut a fresh stem of jewelweed plant and apply its sap on the poison ivy blister. Jewelweed contains chemicals that neutralize the effect of poison ivy, poison oak or sumac.
27. Colloidal Silver
Spray some colloidal silver on the blisters, surfaced on the skin due to poison ivy.
Make a paste of turmeric root powder with some rubbing alcohol or lemon juice. Apply this paste on the affected area. Turmeric has great anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and will quickly give relief from the itching and burning sensation, caused due to the poison ivy.
Gasoline works in the same way as rubbing alcohol as it readily absorbs the urushiol from the skin. It also relieves from itching.
Homeopathic Remedies for Poison Ivy
To prevent the outbreak of poison ivy, you can take following homeopathic medicines.
1. Anacardium orientale : This remedy works best to cure the fluid-filled poison ivy rashes.
2. Belladonna : This remedy is useful on the sudden appearance of the rashes, especially when the blisters are bright red in colour and accompanied by a fever.
3. Apis : This is usually taken when the allergy appears as raised hives and bright pink in colour, along with a burning sensation.
4. Kali sulphuricum : This remedy is helpful when the rashes are filled with pus, along with itchiness.
5. Urtica urens : When there is rigorous burning and itching in the blisters, along with blotchiness, this remedy is useful.
6. Rhus toxicodendron : It is useful when there is a severe itching in the rashes.Other homeopathic remedies to treat poison ivy are sulphur, graphites and croton tiglium.
Preventive Measures for Poison Ivy
- The foremost thing you need to do after getting into contact with poison ivy is to remove the clothes and wash them.
- Wear full pants, and long sleeved shirts or tops if you are going out in the woods.
- Learn to identify these types of plants.
- Give your pets a bath after they have been exposed to plants, like poison ivy.
- If you are going out for trekking or camping, keep rubbing alcohol with you, so that you can immediately use it in order to lessen its effect.
- Apply some Stokogard outdoor cream on your exposed skin. This ointment forms a protective shield against urushiol.
- Avoid going near a pile of the burning bush as it may contain poison ivy plants, the smoke of which can be inhaled by you, resulting in a serious lung infection with rashes all over your body.
Alice grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in California, though she likes to visit home frequently. She graduated from a marketing specialist degree and worked at the core of outreach teams for more than 5 years.