Poison ivy is a very infamous for its poisonous (as the name suggests) qualities. It stays in the list with poison oak and poison sumac as they all produce a special substance that is able to irritate the skin and cause rash. It is called urushiol; and the condition resulting from the contact with the above mentioned plants is known as urushiol-induced contact dermatitis.
Apart from touching the plant itself, one can get affected by the condition also by contacting with the urushiol particles released to the air when the plant is burnt; your pet’s fur as well as gardening tools can also contain particles of urushiol.
In order to answer the question “how to treat poison ivy”, it is important to understand how the contact with the plant occurs and what it leads to. It takes about several minutes for the particles of urushiol to penetrate the skin after the contact is made. However, the symptoms of rush are likely to show off later on. But redness and itching and swelling develop almost immediately and they tend to aggravate over time. In the period between 12 to 72 hours these symptoms are followed by the appearance of blisters. Rash generally happens at the place of the direct contact but spreads further on. It is a delayed reaction and it is not contagious.
The plant is not health-threatening; however, it is better to know how to treat poison ivy. The rash and other symptoms generally tend to resign in about one-three weeks. Over the counter medications and home-made remedies are pretty effective in alleviating the condition. However, in case of bad blisters, one may need to apply for the medical help. A person is likely to be prescribed corticosteroids such as prednisone.
How to treat poison ivy at home tips are very simple. One of the first things to do is to wash the skin with water and soap carefully. This measure, if applied timely, can actually do the trick. If this is done 10 minutes after the direct contact with the plant, it will have no time to get deep into the pores of the skin and, therefore, evoke any rash. But if washing is done too late – it is less useful as penetration has already taken place and the reaction cannot be prevented. Still, washing can make it less severe. It is also necessary to wash all the clothes as well.
Non-prescription corticosteroid cream an also be effective, if the contact has taken place. It should be applied on the affected areas. It sooths the rash and calms the redness and generally relieves the condition. Oral antihistamines are also used for the alleviation of poison ivy symptoms. Home-made remedies include oatmeal baths and baking soda and the like.
Once the contact with poison ivy is made, it is impossible to avoid any symptoms at all. It is much better to know how it looks and recognize it in the forest. Besides, when in the woods, precaution measures will never do any harm. That is why, when going to the forest make sure you’ve got barrier skin cream and wear long pants and sleeves.