Relief from the itch of poison ivy

A Cure for Poison Ivy

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Needs a Cure for Poison Ivy

I recently moved into a new house that has a considerable amount of Poison Oak and Ivy growing around it. I am slowly but surely getting rid of it.

But in the process, it has attacked both my legs and arms and I just can't get rid of it. It continues to spread to a different part of my body as I get rid it in its original spot.

I have tried Benedryl, both cream and oral. Rubbing alcohol seems to clear it in the places that are in the worst condition. But, it doesn't seem to be going away. Does anyone have any suggestions? Is there such a thing as a poison ivy shot a doctor can administer?

Hot Water Eliminates Poison Ivy Itch

My husband and children are all very prone to poison ivy. We always ended up at the doctor's office for a shot until we found this cure. Put the affected part of the body under the sink faucet or stand in the shower and run warm water over it. Slowly cut out the cold water until you are running water as hot as you can stand. You will begin to feel prickles. Do this as often as it itches. It will clear up within a matter of days and you will need no more creams etc. Many of our friends use this method. It works!

Avoid Poison Ivy

The best plan is avoidance. Learn to recognize the plant in all its various guises. When in doubt, consider it to be poison ivy even if you're 80% sure it's box elder! If you are clearing land, invest in the skin lotions and soaps that inactivate the poison ivy oil, but don't trust even these 100%! Wear protective clothing including gloves. After unavoidable poison ivy contact, wash all your clothing including shoes, and wash yourself with lots of soap as soon as possible. Don't forget to decontaminate anything you might have touched such as your watch, glasses, faucet, doorknob.

Once the poison ivy is gone, be vigilant about inspecting for more. Birds eat poison ivy berries and excrete the seeds, thus planting the poison ivy far and wide, so even if you did get all the poison ivy roots out of your yard, there will always be more plants growing from seed. Every month or so, I put a plastic newspaper bag over my hand and cruise the yard looking for new poison ivy plants. I put them in a bag, and when I am done I turn my "glove" inside-out and throw it and the other bag away. Then I wash carefully anyway! I hate poison ivy!
Laura B.
Vienna, Virginia

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The Baking Soda Cure

The absolute best cure for poison ivy is a simple one. Don't waste money on over the counter creams and sprays. Go to the store a purchase a large box of baking soda. Run a warm bath and put a considerable amount of the baking soda into the water. Soak the affected area(s). The baking soda will leach the poison out of you skin. There will be a noticeable difference the following day. The affected areas will begin to dry out. Continue baking soda bath daily until it is gone.

A Doctor's Cure for Poison Ivy

About half the population is susceptible to poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac, all members of the Toxidendron genus. The itching, blistering reaction you get from these plants is caused by a T-cell response to urushiol, the allergenic component of the resin secreted by the plants. If you think you're one of the lucky ones who happen to be immune, beware -- allergy to these plants can come and go quite suddenly.

The reaction usually occurs 36 to 48 hours after contact and lasts about two weeks. You won't spread the rash by scratching the blisters, but it can spread internally around the body and surface in unexpected places.

Of course, the best defense against this family of plants is to learn how to recognize its members and avoid them. Poison oak can grow as a shrub or vine, and can be spotted by its characteristic clusters of three leaflets per leaf. These can be shiny green, red-green or red, depending on the season. If you do touch a plant, wash the oil off with soap and water within 20 to 30 minutes of contact. After that, the oil soaks into the skin. Watch and wash your pets, too. One common way to get the rash is to touch a dog that has rubbed up against a plant and had the resin transferred to its coat.

Tecnu sells a very effective over-the-counter product that will remove the resins of poison oak, ivy or sumac from the skin up to 24 hours after contact. They also make a protective lotion that you can put on your skin before you go out in the woods.

The absolute best treatment I know for poison ivy is to get in the shower and run hot water (as hot as you can stand) over the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes. This seems counterintuitive, because it will increase the itching. But after a few minutes, the nervous circuits seem to get overloaded and the itching stops for a long time. If you conscientiously repeat the hot water treatment whenever the itching returns, the whole reaction completes its cycle rapidly and your skin will return to normal.

While hot water works better than anything, you also can use calamine lotion as a topical treatment if you wish. I strongly recommend against taking oral prednisone or other steroids unless there are very severe symptoms, such as fever or difficulty urinating. Don't use topical steroids either. Steroids are toxic drugs that should be saved for serious conditions, not minor ones, since they suppress the immune system.
Dr. Andrew W.

Killing Poison Ivy

When tackling the ivy, make sure to wear clothes that completely cover the arms, legs, hands and neck. After being exposed, remove all clothing without letting the outside of the clothes touch the skin. DO NOT throw these clothes into the laundry basket, but wash them immediately. It's also a good idea to wash any bedsheets, towels or anything (even the pets) that has come in contact with the oil (use a grease cutting soap to remove the oil). When it comes to disposing of the ivy use the same care (even if it's dried and brown - the oil doesn't evaporate); wrapping the brush in plastic and seal shut. And especially, DO NOT BURN IT! (This is even illegal in most states) The smoke is just as irritating as the oil and pose serious health risks if inhaled.

Though I don't like the idea of using any chemicals in the yard, in this instance I would recommend buying a large bottle of Round Up to rid the yard of the Poison Ivy and Oak. This may seem like an expensive route, but compared to the cost of medication and the discomfort it should save money and time in the long run.
K. J.

Fels-Naptha Soap

Fels Naptha Soap (actually a laundry bar soap) is your answer! This was truly a God-send for us. We also live in a poison-ivy infested area and my son was covered! Last summer he broke out so badly that he had to be put on steroids to clear it up. A friend that has been involved with the Boy Scouts said the scouts have used this soap for years. We tried it and it was a miracle! It's supposed to remove the oily residue that is left from contact that normal soaps don't remove. I have only been able to find it at Kroger stores (by the regular bath soaps). Try it - I think you'll be impressed!

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Immunization Better Than Cure

I have in the past taken "Poison Ivy" pills which are sugar pills with a small amount of poison ivy extract in them. You can take them as a preventative to build up your "resistance" but I forget about doing this and end up taking them AFTER I have already started itching! The pills come in a small bottle located near the poison ivy medications.

The pills are called RhusTox4x medicated poison ivy pills. Manufactured by Washington Homeopathic Products, Inc. 4914 Del Ray Ave, Bethesda, MD, 20814.


I'm assuming that you clear it wearing long pants, long sleeved shirt and gloves. Use a product called Tecnu to wash yourself after you think you've come into contact w/ the poison ivy. I think you can also wash your clothes with it. This seems to work quite well. After you have some, put some bleach on it with a qtip- I'm not sure why it works, but in moderation, it seems to work quite well. If it gets really bad (my mother had it once such that her whole legs were covered and oozing), get a shot of hydrocortizone from the doctor. Naturally, this is not a remedy you want to revert to frequently.

Powder It

My sisters swear by Gold Bond Powder. It works wonders. It burns going on but will dry up any sores related to poison ivy or oak.
Patricia H.

Reviewed January 2018

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