Stop Poison Ivy Itching

Stop the itching! Once you get poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac – that's priority number one. Everyone has some sort of remedy or advice but what really works? This article shows you how to get blessed relief from that awful itch.

Take note: If you experience blistering or your eyes swell shut soon after coming in contact with poison ivy see a doctor even if you have to go to the emergency room! Severe poison ivy reactions are considered one of the few true emergencies by dermatologists. If in doubt see a medical professional right away. For less severe reactions, poison ivy reactions can be treated at home. The good news is most home remedies are inexpensive. The bad news is effective long-term products will cost you more, but the right one can be well worth the expense. Both generally cost less than a trip to the doctor's office.

It helps to know what your dealing with. The rash and itching are caused by your body reacting to an oil produced by poison ivy, urushiol. This oil is tenacious and can even be found on plants that died years ago. It's not a good idea to burn poison ivy either.

Urushiol oil bonds with the oil your skin produces and causes an allergic reaction. In a very short time – sometimes minutes urushiol can bury itself deep within your skin. That's why it often takes two weeks or more for the itching rash to go away by itself. It literally wears off. So what do you do about it?

According to the FDA, washing off as much oil as you can is the first step. Start with rubbing alcohol. Wet a cotton ball or cloth with alcohol and rub the affected area as soon as possible. Then wash with soap and water. You should use a real soap. Dish soap often works well as it is made to cut grease. Most shampoos will also work in a pinch. You can also use mineral oil. Wipe some on and wash it off. One commercial product Tecnu can also work well. You'll find a link for more information on Tecnu at the end of this article. Now shower (take a shower not a bath!) With soap and warm water. You want to get rid of as much oil as possible. What if you still itch?

It's time to treat the itch. While many home remedies can provide relief, their effectiveness varies with each person. Here's a few you can try right away …

  • Hot tap water can stop the itching for short periods. Be careful not to burn yourself. Do not use water heated on the stove or microwave as it can be too hot. Hold the affected area under the tap for a few seconds.
  • White vinegar often soothes the itch for a while. Rub some on with a cotton ball or leave it sit for a while.
  • Many swear by oatmeal as effective – wearing it not eating it. Make it somewhat thicker than what you would eat and apply to the rash. You can also put some in bathwater and soak in it.
  • Baking soda often helps. Mix some with water to make a paste and spread it on or add 1/2 cup to your bath and soak. Use the paste on insect bites too.
  • Jewel Weed is a plant often found growing near poison ivy. It works very well to stop the itching. The stems ooze out a juice you can apply to the rash. You can also look around for soaps containing Jewel Weed extracts.
  • Since you're dealing with an allergic reaction over-the-counter antihistamines often help. Benadryl is one you can try. Many often come in cream form you can apply right to the itch.

While all these remedies ease your symptoms temporarily, you may want to consider the more expensive but permanent alternatives. There are two on the market that are ranked very effective in stopping the itch immediately and making the rash go away in a few days. Both penetrate deep to get at the urushiol oil buried deep in your skin. These are All Stop by DermsTechRx and Zanfel by Zanfel Labrators, Inc. While each product approaches the problem differently they both guarantee the itch will stop and not come back. For more information visit the link in the resource box.