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How Do I Get Rid of Poison Ivy?

Using an oatmeal based lotion can soothe a poison ivy rash.
Poison ivy.
Poison ivy can cause severe itching.
A woman applying an anti-itch cream.
A man with poison ivy blisters on his hand.
Oral antihistamines can help treat inflammation and itching caused by poison ivy.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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The question of how to get rid of poison ivy may lead to several different answers. From a medical standpoint, people might ask this to determine how to get rid of the oil, urushiol, which causes skin reaction shortly after it’s touched. Alternately they may be asking how to get rid of poison ivy skin rash. Another question is how to eliminate poison ivy from around homes and landscaping, but this falls outside of the medical purview.

In order to prevent a brush with poison ivy becoming an itchy and uncomfortable rash, there are guidelines to follow. First, do not touch the stuff when possible. Stay on paths and observe the, “leaves of three, let them be” rule. Any grouping of three leaves on bushes may be poison ivy or poison oak, and there’s a good chance touching it will yield a reaction to the oils in the plant.

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Of course, not everybody adheres to these rules, and sometimes despite caution, an accident occurs. The next step is to handle how to get rid of poison ivy oils on the skin, and there are several ways this could be done. Any of these methods needs to be done as soon as possible to increase chances of not contracting a rash. People who are camping or determined hikers or bikers should consider carrying products with them like Technu® a waterless wash that can help remove poison ivy oils. Alternately, rubbing alcohol can be used to wash the oil off the body, anywhere exposure may have occurred.

The exposure areas shouldn’t be cleaned with soap until after a full waterless wash or alcohol wash has taken place. Afterwards, having a shower and soaping the body is good sense, or at least thoroughly cleansing exposed areas with soap and water may help. If the poison ivy contact occurred a night before, it may be too late, but it’s still sensible to clean any bedding or pets that could have been exposed to urushiol.

In spite of best prevention, people may still end up asking how to get rid of poison ivy rash. In most cases, using anti-itch cream and waiting for about one to three weeks is sufficient treatment. People who have a rash with pus, one that covers a great deal of body area, or one that is resulting in huge of amounts of swelling and discomfort should see a doctor. Some people are extremely sensitive to poison ivy and might require extra treatment, such as taking an antihistamine and using an oral steroid like prednisone. Infection may need to be treated with antibiotics.

There are a variety of home cure methods to get rid of poison ivy rash, but these tend not to be very effective. Some things to help tame itch that may help are oatmeal bath soaks, over the counter antihistamines for itching, and products like anti-itch cream. Typically, people will only get rid of poison ivy rash with time.

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