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Have you recently found out that you have poison ivy rash? If so, you’re not alone. This is quite common for people who venture outdoors frequently.
Today I wanted to share some tips to help you soothe poison ivy rash, get rid of it and how to try to avoid getting into poison ivy in the first place.
Poison Ivy Rash and How to Get Rid of It
Learn to Identify the Plant
Poison ivy can be identified by leaves of three, but many plants in nature have three leaves. The key is to remember that poison ivy’s three leaves form a pattern. Poison ivy is found all throughout the United States and Canada, aside from Alaska, Hawaii, and certain parts of the West Coast.
You’ll find that poison ivy has one large leaf with two smaller leaves at the base of the stem. Poison ivy is also a vine-like plant that climbs upwards on trees and other surfaces found in nature. It can also grow in the form of shrubs.
You can read more about identifying poison ivy plants here.
What Does Poison Ivy Rash Look Like?
It’s important to know what the symptoms of poison ivy look like. Most people that have touched Poison Ivy have raised red skin that’s very itchy or sensitive, a kind of contact dermatitis. Exposure can also cause blisters, swelling, and can sometimes lead to infection or pus.
This common poison ivy reaction is due to a resin called urushiol, which many people are allergic to in differing degrees. You’ll also find this resin in plants like poison sumac and poison oak.
The rash won’t usually spread unless the oil from poison ivy touches other areas of your body. It’s rather itchy and while this may be uncomfortable you can usually treat the rash at home.
However, if you’re having an extreme response such as difficulty breathing (which can be a result of inhaling smoke from burning poison ivy) or you have a fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit you should seek medical attention immediately.
How to Soothe the Rash
You may use calamine lotion or a similar over-the-counter topical treatment to help soothe the itch, as well. When all else fails, try some cool, wet compresses. These various ways to soothe the rash are not used to treat the rash; rather they help ease the symptoms such as itchiness or swollen skin.
Poison Ivy Rash Treatments
To treat the rash, soak in an oatmeal bath or rub the rash with rubbing alcohol to ease the discomfort. Some people use oral antihistamines to help alleviate the allergic reaction.
It’s that allergic reaction from poison ivy that causes the rash. If you need to, take the antihistamine at night at the very least so that you can sleep.
You can ease the symptoms with hydrocortisone creams, calamine lotion or from an aloe vera plant.
How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy Rash
Poison ivy rash will typically last 12 days but can last up to 30 days or more in severe cases. The best way to get rid of it will be to use the products to soothe the skin while keeping from scratching.
While this will be uncomfortable, the rash will only last up to 12 days in most cases and disappear on its own.
Scratching your rash will make the poison ivy spread and in turn, your healing time will take longer.
It can’t be said enough – Try to NOT scratch! Take something to relieve the itchiness instead.
No scratching! Remember, you can spread the rash by touching the oil and then touching other parts of your body.
Preventing Poison Ivy Rash
The key to prevention for the long term is to remove any plants from your yard. Be sure to protect yourself when dealing with the poison ivy vines.
Always wear shirts with long sleeves and long pants. For footwear, wear heavy work boots if possible. Never wear open toed shoes or sandals. Cover up completely.
Wear leather or rubber gloves. Be sure to wash all clothing and gloves afterward.
Personally, I would wear my oldest work clothes and put them directly in the garbage after working. Then, wash your hands thoroughly. Then wash them again.
If you do touch poison ivy, quickly wash the affected area with soap and cool water to avoid the rash.
Most pets won’t actually get the rash if they come into contact with the plant, but the oil can stay on pet fur and rub off on you. Try to avoid letting pets run free in areas where there may be poison ivy.
The key to getting rid of this terror is to use this homemade poison ivy weed killer recipe.
All you need is some vinegar, water, salt, and liquid laundry detergent to rid your yard of poison ivy.
Do it when the plants are young because the roots haven’t embedded into the soil deep or long enough to grow back.
Older poison ivy is harder to get rid of, so you may have to treat the poison ivy in your yard again. The plants can be quite stubborn, so keep treating it with the weed killer.
Have too much posion ivy on your property? Just can’t get rid of it all in your yard?
Then you can mark the spots where you’ve encountered it and try to keep others from trampling through that area.
Now that you have the tips to soothe poison ivy rash, and kill the plants in your yard, you’re well on your way to feeling better and having a yard free of poison ivy.
More Articles You May Want to Read
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published June 2020; last updated August 2022