Poison ivy rash is triggered by an allergic reaction to the oil resin known as urushiol which is present in the stem, leaves, and roots of the poison ivy plant. The resin is considered quite adhesive and can easily stick to the skin, clothes, tools, equipment and furs of animals. Wash the skin immediately if it comes in direct contact with the oil in order to lessen the risk of getting a rash caused by poison ivy. The rashes cause itchiness and could last for weeks.
- If inhaling smoke from a poison ivy plant, the affected person will have difficulties in breathing. The reaction develops 12-48 hours after exposure and lasts for 2-3 weeks. The severity of the condition will depend on the amount of urushiol that gets in contact with the skin.
- By directly touching the stem, leaves, roots and berries of the plant, the body develops a reaction.
- Touching contaminated objects that are not cleaned properly since the urushiol can still trigger reactions on the skin even years later.
- Inhaling the smoke of the burning poison ivy plant and cause irritation and damage the nasal passages or the lungs.
- Rinse the affected area of the skin using cool and soapy water or rubbing alcohol immediately within an hour of touching poison ivy. This can help remove the urushiol and prevent development of rash or symptoms can be minimized. Avoid using hot water since it can cause irritation on the skin.
- Apply over-the-counter antihistamines in order to lessen the itchiness and inflammation. Benadryl makes the affected person sleepy and provides comfort while sleeping.
- Apply calamine lotion
- Soak in a water bath using oatmeal. Grind 1 cup of oatmeal in the blender until it becomes a fine powder. Fill a tub using lukewarm water and add the powdered oatmeal in the water. Soak the body in the mixture for at least 30 minutes. Another option is to place powdered oatmeal in a pouch and apply it directly on the rash to lessen the itchiness.
- Apply a cool compress on the affected area for at least 15-30 minutes several times every day. A cold compress helps lessen the itching and minimizes the urge to scratch the area
- Immerse a cotton ball into a brewed tea. Dab it on the affected areas of the skin and leave in place until it becomes dry. This must be done at least several times every day as needed.
- Mash fresh cucumber until it becomes a paste and then dab on the rash for a relaxing effect.
If the affected person has difficulty in breathing or swallowing, closed eyes that are swollen and rashes that develop close to or in the mouth, seek medical help as soon as possible.