Poison ivy: Facts and home remedies to relieve the insidious itching

Poison ivy: Facts and home remedies to relieve the insidious itching

I'm itchy. Very, very itchy thanks to an unfortunate run in with poison ivy.

Here's rundown of basic poison ivy facts: The urushiol oil on the leaves of the poison ivy plant cause an allergic reaction in 60% to 80% of people when it touches their skin. The reaction is a rash that can also involve swelling and usually graduates to blisters which flake off.  Have I mentioned the itching?

The reaction to poison ivy (and also poison oak and poison sumac) can happen within hours of touching the plant or take as long as five days to pop up.

The good news: The rash will clear up on it's own.

The bad news: That hasn't happened yet for me. According to Kids Health, it takes one to two weeks to heal.

I'm starting to get a bit irritable. (That may be an understatement.) The Mayo Clinic website says "the itching can be difficult to deal with." I have a feeling my family would like to add that the person doing the itching an also be difficult to deal with.

Here's what the Mayo Clinic staff recommends for treating poison ivy:

  • An over-the-counter corticosteroid cream for the first few days.
  • A cool-water bath containing an oatmeal-based bath product like Aveeno.
  • Calamine lotion.
  • Cool, wet compresses on the affected area for 15 to 30 minutes several times a day.

I think I may just take the ice bucket challenge to the extreme and hang out in the bathtub full of ice for the day in hopes that it will just numb everything inch of me. (Okay, maybe not, but it sounds pretty nice right about now.)

I'm also going to try out aloe vera, which was included in 17 Home Remedies for Poison Ivy from How Stuff Works.

Also in the bull pen is the cucumber I intended to be for tonight's salad at dinner. That's an option in the 10 Poison Ivy Home Remedies article in Reader's Digest.

You also better believe that I'll be wearing pants and pretty much every other item of clothing I own when going anywhere near plants any time soon. That is perhaps an exaggeration, but pants and sleeves are my new best friends. Covering up is a great way to protect yourself from the evil plants, and as a bonus, it protects you from UV rays. Win win!

The Mayo Clinic says, "Mild cases of poison ivy rash require no medical treatment."

This is not intended to be medical advice. In my agitated state, you shouldn't really ask me anything, anyway.

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