Itchy Ivy

Tips to Avoid and Treat Poison Ivy Rash




Melinda Fawver/Shutterstock.com

Avoiding even slight contact with poisonous vines that secrete toxic oil goes far in preempting nasty blistering, skin pain and itching. If contact occurs, natural remedies can help prevent and diminish symptoms.

Recognition helps. In the North and West, it’s usually a shrub; in the East, Midwest and South, a vine. Watch out for a cluster of three leaves; the color changes seasonally.

For outdoor walks or hikes, maximize skin protection by wearing long-sleeved shirts, hats, rubber gloves, socks and closed-toe shoes. Also thoroughly rinse skin that may have come into contact with poison ivy in lukewarm soapy water using a washcloth or hand towel for friction as soon as possible to remove the damaging oil (video at Tinyurl.com/Wash-Off-Poison-Ivy).

• Stay watchful; a rash sometimes doesn’t appear for 12 to 72 hours after contact (aad.org).

• If a rash develops, soak in cool water baths containing an oatmeal-based product like Aveena or oatmeal soap.

• Lavender, peppermint, tea tree, Roman chamomile, myrrh, eucalyptus and cypress essential oils all offer anti-inflammatory and other soothing properties (recipes at NewHealthAdvisor.com/Essential-Oils-for-Poison-Ivy.html)

• Natural treatments found at DrAxe.com include applying apple cider vinegar or brewed and chilled black tea; their tannins and other compounds lower inflammatory reactions.

• To reduce itching, GlobalHealingCenter.com suggests baking soda baths and pastes. Ditch the Itch Cream has natural ingredients such as colloidal oatmeal, oat extract, tea tree and neem oils that can provide temporary relief, according to Eartheasy.com. Applying cool paper towels may be helpful; also try witch hazel. Over-the-counter cortisone cream or even calamine lotion is a last resort.

• Avoid scratching as an infection may develop through opening a blister. If breathing or swallowing worsens, eyes swell or a rash develops in or near the mouth, head to an emergency room or urgent care center.


This article appears in the June 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Green Surfing

Ecosia, a German Internet search engine, has planted more than 52 million trees in the last 10 years by diverting its advertising revenue to funding new trees worldwide.

Aqua Breakthrough

Chinese scientists have used ultraviolet light and graphitic carbon nitride to purify two and a half gallons of water in one hour.

Far Out

The outermost region of the Earth’s atmosphere has been newly determined to reach out much farther than the moon.

Baby Balking

The U.S. birthrate has been falling steadily, partly because prospective parents are worried about the increased frequency and intensity of storm, drought and wildfires, as well as about growing geopolitical unrest and resource scarcity.

Revamping Recycling

China, a major importer of recycled waste, is rejecting shipments contaminated by greasy pizza boxes, polyethylene-lined disposable coffee cups, and plastics like yogurt cups and butter tubs.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags