Spring has sprung, and that means that all kinds of plants are beginning to grow. You get to go outside and enjoy the beauty of creation, smell the flowers and see “twitter pated” animals as love is in the air. Unfortunately, not every plant that is growing is wonderful.
Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are also sending out new leaves and tendrils. When they first put forth their leaves, they don’t have the tell-tale reds or berries that people usually look for. That means that you may accidentally stumble into a patch. If that happens to you, here are 7+ ways you can soothe the itch caused by poison ivy and its friends.
1. Rubbing alcohol. According to Medical News Today, one of the first things you want to do if you have been exposed to poison ivy is to use an astringent like rubbing alcohol to remove the oils from your skin.
2. Wash. You need to be sure you thoroughly wash the areas exposed to the poison ivy. Healthline lists the best soaps to rid yourself of the oil from the ivy: Burt’s Bees, Ivarest, and Tecnu. You’ll get the best results if you can wash within 10 minutes of exposure to the plant. Be sure to wash your clothing in detergent and do it separate from your other clothes so the oil doesn’t spread.
3. Witch hazel. Witch hazel is another natural astringent that can be used to stop poison ivy in its tracks. Reader’s Digest says it will also help dry out the blisters and puss and reduce the inflammation. You can apply the witch hazel directly to the rash with a cotton ball.
3. Baking soda paste. To help dry out the weeping and reduce the itching, Healthline says to make a baking soda paste. The paste should be 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Put it on the rash and rinse it off with tepid water when finished.
4. Aloe vera gel. Aloe vera is great for healing skin wounds and moisturizing. Healthline says you can apply the gel directly to the rash to try to control the itching. It should also help moisturize the area as the rash begins to dry out, keeping the area from cracking and bleeding.
5. Oatmeal bath. Medical News Today recommends the traditional home remedy of an oatmeal bath. Add 1/2 cup of finely ground oatmeal to a tub of lukewarm water. You can soak for up to 30 minutes at a time. You should find some relief from the itching.
6. Baking soda bath. If you haven’t got any oatmeal on hand, head to your cupboard for some baking soda. The American Association of Dermatology says that soaking in a tub with baking soda can also help with the itching. Add 1 cup of baking soda to lukewarm water and soak for up to 30 minutes.
7. Calamine lotion. The American Association of Dermatology shares that calamine lotion is a great topical treatment for the itching as well. If you’re headed out in public and the affected area is visible, you may want to pick up some hydrocortisone cream instead, as the calamine lotion will appear pink to all who see it.
8. Cold compress. Sometimes, all you need to stop the itching is to apply a cold compress. A cool rag, a bag of peas or an ice pack will do. The Reader’s Digest reminds you to be sure the area has been thoroughly wash first, though, so that the oil from the poison ivy doesn’t get spread.
You may not always be able to avoid the poison ivy, but you can do your best to calm the itch. There is nothing brave or heroic about simply suffering. See if these remedies give you the relief for which you’re looking.