poison ivy

Everyone knows “leaves of three, let it be”, but sometimes you just don’t see it in time.  Since poison ivy doesn’t always behave like an ivy, a vine climbing up a tree or structure, stumbling into it can be a little too easy.  Maybe you’re digging in your garden, expanding it to accommodate more plants than the year before. Or you’re taking a relaxing hike through the woods and suddenly you find yourself calf deep in poison. Now what?  Below are ten ways to help stop the itchy rash poison ivy creates, and to help stop the itch.

1. Soap and Cold Water

Immediately after you realize you’ve been exposed to the poison, you should wash the affected area with soap and cold water.  Notice I said cold water.  Using hot water will open up your pores and let the oils penetrate, meaning more itch for longer.  Hot water can also irritate an already itchy situation.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

You’re probably thinking “ouch!’, but hear me out.  Rubbing alcohol helps dry up the rash and prevent yucky oozing. There may be a slight sting, but it’s better than having a seeping rash later on.  Lemon juice can also be used for the same purpose with the same result; with a less medicinal scent.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

If you want a natural product that can help dry up the rash, look no further than your pantry.  Apple cider vinegar will not only help dry the rash, it also has the added benefit of disinfecting properties, which can help prevent infection.

4. Strongly Brewed Tea

If your rash does start to ooze, wet a cotton ball or cotton towel with strongly brewed tea.  Dab on the site, and let dry completely.  Repeat as necessary.  It will also help soothe the area.

5. Baking Soda

You can also make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply to the affected area.  This is another way to help dry the rash as well as stop that pesky itch.

6. Cucumber

Another helpful paste you can make is out of cucumber.  Simply grind it up in a blender or food processor and apply to your skin.  You can also just slice it and lay it on the area. The cooling properties of the cucumber will help sooth the burning of the itch.

7. Aloe

If you want some itch relief, but don’t want to make your own remedy, simply head to your local pharmacy and get some aloe vera.  The aloe plant is known for its soothing itch and burn relief.  While you’re at it, order some to keep on hand.  This awesome plant is great for sunburns too.

8. Topical Anti-itch

A great anti-itch option available at your local pharmacy is calamine lotion.  It comes in more varieties than just the pink stuff your mom used on you as a kid for your bug bites.  Another clear topical option is hydro-cortisone creme or ointment.

9. Oral Antihistamines

If you want a less messy option to stop the itch, then you want to go for an oral antihistamine like Benedryl (diphenhydramine).  It usually only lasts for four hours at a time, so you’ll want to make sure to keep it on hand throughout the day.

10. Oatmeal Bath

The ultimate in anti-itch relief is definitely an oatmeal bath.  You are completely immersed in soothing, slightly slimy, oatmeal.  The itch will be gone, your skin will feel softer, and you will have had a relaxing couple of minutes away from the world.  Just be careful getting in and out of the tub, while the texture of the oatmeal is wonderful for your rash, it can create a slippery hazard.