How To Treat A Poison Ivy Rash And How To Prevent It

Poison ivy can be growing in your very own yard and if you aren't sure what you're dealing with you could end up with a nasty rash. Poison ivy has an oil that, when it touches the skin, can leave you with an itchy rash, redness, and possibly blisters or welts on the skin, depending on how your body reacts to it. Read on for tips to treat your poison ivy and ways to prevent it. 

Treating Poison Ivy

Poison ivy can affect each person differently: some people don't get a rash at all from touching poison ivy, while others may end up with a severe rash. If you have a rash, don't scratch it or you could end up spreading the rash further, or to other places on your body. Wash the area with soap and water and pat it dry, then use Calamine lotion to help dry out the rash and keep it from feeling itchy. 

You can also take an over-the-counter allergy medication to help reduce symptoms, especially if you have a lot of swelling and redness. 

Taking a bath with epsom salts or oatmeal can also be beneficial to reduce the itchiness associated with poison ivy rashes and can help dry out the rash.

Preventing Poison Ivy Rashes

Prevent poison ivy rashes by not touching poison ivy, but if you aren't sure what to look for then you may just think it's a weed growing in your garden. Poison ivy has leaves of three and the stem is longer in the center of the leaves so they are pointed in the middle. The leaves on the outside are usually shaped like a mitten.

The plant has an oil on it, which is what causes the rash. When you touch the plant you will get the oil on your body or on your clothing. Anywhere the oil touches can leave you with a rash. Prevent the rash by:

  • If pulling out your weeds by hand, use gloves and wear long sleeves.
  • Wash your hands and arms after pulling weeds (even if they are covered). Use cool water and soap.
  • Put all clothing into the washing machine that may have come into contact with poison ivy and wash it immediately in hot water.
  • Spray your weeds rather than pulling them out whenever possible. Once the weeds are dead you can pull them out with gloved hands.

If you think you may have touched poison ivy, wash the area immediately with cool water and soap, then treat it immediately with Calamine lotion to prevent spreading the rash all over the body. If your rash is severe, seek medical attention for a steroid cream or oral medication. Clinics like Peninsula Community Health Services- Medical (Cottonwood) can offer more information and medical care.