We all know summertime can come with certain…bothers. Mosquitoes. Bee stings. Sunburn. They’re just a part of taking part in the great outdoors. Whether you go camping, head to the lake or just take a walk, you could accidentally brush up against that bother of all summer bothers: poison ivy.
When poison ivy comes into contact with your skin, this sneaky plant can give you a red, blistery and awfully itchy rash.
Why does poison ivy itch?
Poison Ivy like poison oak and poison sumac contain an oil called urushiol.
Approximately 80-90 percent of adult Americans will get a rash if they are exposed to 50 micrograms of purified urushiol (Epstein et al, 1974). This is indeed a minute amount when you consider that one grain of table salt weighs about 60 micrograms. An urushiol residue on the skin is difficult to wash off and may be spread by scratching,but it is not spread through blister fluids. It is a stable compound and can retain its potency for years. Herbarium specimens 100 years old have been known to cause dermatitis. It is readily transferred from contaminated clothing, objects and fur of animals. To make matters worse it readily penetrates the epidermal layer of the skin where it binds to proteins of deeper skin cell membranes and causes body to respond to the toxic invasion, which results in a rash, blisters, or even an allergic reaction. So, attempts to remove this oil may prove to be worthwhile. Attempts at curing this irritation and of course some methods to speed up healing and reduce itching can be useful as well.
Watch for an itchy red rash line 24-48 hours after you contact poison ivy.
Luckily, it will clear up with time. You’ll just have to test your willpower for a while to keep from scratching your skin raw.
No one is born with sensitivity to Poison ivy, but if exposed enough most people become sensitized at some time and remain allergic. A sensitivity can change at any time. There's no way to desensitize people allergic to plants. Dogs and other animals are not affected by poison ivy, but people can get the rash by petting a dog that's been exposed
How to treat a poison ivy rash naturally
These home remedies can help you tackle that pesky poison ivy rash the natural way.
1.Jewelweed: Rub a crushed stem into skin to reduce effects from the urushiol.
Christopher Hanifin, PA-C in the department of physician assistants at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, recommends jewelweed as the go-to remedy for poison ivy.
"It is a plant in the same family as impatiens, and the juice from the stem has long been held to reduce the effect of exposure to rhus family plants (poison ivy, oak and sumac)," he says.
Simply crush the stem of the plant and rub the liquid into the skin. Conveniently, jewelweed usually grows near water or in shallow ponds next to poison ivy and oak.
Jewelweed is even said to prevent an outbreak of a rash caused by poison ivy if applied to the affected area quickly. This natural remedy also treats poison oak, bee stings, wasp stings, mosquito bites and other minor skin irritations.
2.Mugwort: This will prevent rash, heal, and neutralize urushiol.
Mugwort is tall erect, herbaceous perennial herb, hairy, aromatic, rank smelling, often half woody that grows about 1–2 m (rarely 2.5 m) tall. The plant has woody root.
Leaves are 5–20 cm long and have hairs on the underside.
Simply grind fresh mugwort leaves between hands and rub the clump of plant matter on the rash. You can also boil fresh leaves and make a tea to apply to the affected area directly, or you can soak gauze or a cheesecloth in the tea and lay over skin.
3.Rhubarb: This relieves itch. Simply break open the stem and rub as often as needed.
4.Milkweed: This will reduce itch, will dry the rash, and cause faster healing. Just pull leaves, dab milk sap over rash/blisters and let dry
5.Cold Coffee: The chlorogenic acid in coffee is an anti-inflammatory that can keep swelling down.
6.Ocean Water: Ocean water will dry out the rash and help with healing.
Fun fact: some foods contain urushiol. These include tomatoes, mangoes, pistachios, and cashews.
7.Aspirin: The Salicylic acid in these pills speeds healing. Make paste with bit of water, put on skin, and let dry.
8.Dish Soap: Using this will break down the urushiol oils and reduce irritation. Ideally the best therapy when exposed to poison ivy is to wash the contaminated areas thoroughly. The problem is that most ordinary bath soaps have little effect on removing the resinous sap. Have you ever tried removing pine pitch from your arm with facial soap? In fact, added moisturizers and oils in the soap together with brisk rubbing may even spread the urushiol, increasing the area of allergic response. Strong laundry soaps, such as Fels Naptha, may also spread the allergen and be harsh on sensitive skin.
9.Calamine Lotion– This will reduce the itch caused by poison ivy.
10.Cucumbers: Just make a paste and apply to area to soothe rash.
We provide this data for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using these products or any of this information for treatment purposes.