How to Treat Poison Ivy

Your Yardley dermatologist offers up ways to combat poison ivy itch.
poison ivy With hot and humid weather, it’s certainly a time to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re planning on camping, hiking, or just taking a walk around your neighborhood, it’s important to keep an eye out for poison ivy. Poison ivy is found in most of North America, and about half of the US population is allergic to this plant.
The oil poison ivy produces (known as urushiol) causes that itchy rash you may know all too well. Most poison ivy cases are minor and can be treated at home. If you know for certain that your blistering rash is due to a run-in with this annoying little plant, here are some ways you can treat your symptoms in Yardley.
  1. Rinse off your skin immediately: Using lukewarm, soapy water, make sure to rinse your skin thoroughly and immediately after coming in contact with poison ivy (or poison oak or sumac). This may help remove some of the oil. This will also help keep contamination down, as the oil can spread to other parts of the body and from person to person.
  2. Wash everything: This includes the clothes you were wearing when you came in contact with poison ivy, as well as anything else that may have come in contact with it like gardening tools, pet leashes or even golf clubs. If your pet has a run-in with poison ivy, make sure he also gets a nice soapy bath.
  3. Don’t scratch: We know, it’s easier said than done! However, scratching can not only cause an infection but also spread the rash. By not scratching, you eliminate the possibility of complications and you will most likely heal faster.
  4. Take short baths: If you’re dealing with itchy skin, we recommend getting into a lukewarm oatmeal bath. You can also use baking soda in the water to help with the itching. If the idea of a bath isn’t appealing, you can also opt for taking short, cool showers.
  5. Lather up: Calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream can be good when used on small patches of itchy skin.
  6. Cold compresses: If you’d rather not put medication on your skin, you can go the more natural route and apply a cool, damp washcloth to those same itchy regions.
When should I see an improvement?
Most poison ivy rashes should improve within seven to 10 days; however, if you aren’t experiencing any reprieve, then it’s time to seek dermatology treatment in Yardley. We have everything to treat your rash (and any infection) and alleviate itching.
If you have questions about poison ivy in Yardley, call our dermatology practice today. If you’ve come in contact with poison ivy and you’re experiencing problems breathing, or the rash covers most of your body, then don’t wait—head to your local emergency room for treatment.
Do you have any at-home tips for treating persistent poison ivy itch? If so, we would love to hear what’s worked for you!