Contact with poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac often goes hand-in-hand with camping and other outdoor activities. The problem stems from the plant’s colourless oil called urushiol. Whenever one of these plants is cut, crushed, stepped on, sat on, grabbed, rolled on, kicked, or disturbed, the oil is released. It oozes from any cut or crushed part of the leaves or stem, so just brushing a plant may not elicit a reaction. Even for people who are only mildly sensitive, a rash from poison ivy, oak, or sumac is no fun. The itching can drive you absolutely crazy. You try to ignore it, but you can’t. All you want to do is scratch like a maniac. It’s almost enough to make you want to give up going outside ever again.
A poison ivy rash will eventually go away on its own. But the itching can be difficult to deal with. Here are some steps you can take to help control the itching:
CUCUMBER: Cucumber slices are one of the simplest poison ivy home remedies. Either place slices of this cooling veggie on the affected area, or mash it up to make a cucumber “paste” and apply to the skin for soothing relief.
BANANA PEELS OR WATERMELON RINDS: Rubbing the inside of a banana peel on poison ivy-affected skin is an old wives tale that could provide relief because of the peel’s cooling qualities. Watermelon rinds are another food some swear by and can be used in a similar way.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: Apple cider vinegar has also been shown to be a powerful poison ivy home remedy. One way to apply it is to soak a brown paper bag in apple cider vinegar, then place it on the rash to draw out the toxins.
ALOE VERA: Aloe vera is a well-known all-rounder remedy! The gel from an aloe vera plant can work wonders on a poison ivy rash too. Apply the gel directly to the skin from the leaf or use a store-bought product for a quicker remedy.
ALCOHOL: If you’re going to be in areas where there might be poison ivy, it’s a good idea to carry rubbing alcohol with you. Apply it to the affected areas immediately after contact to slow down and minimize the discomfort. Alcohol prevents the chemical Urushiol from fully penetrating the skin!
OATMEAL: Oatmeal bath soothes the itch to a great extent! If you’re covered in an itchy red rash, save yourself some scratching by soaking in an oatmeal bath. Simply grind 1 cup oatmeal in your blender until it is a fine powder, then pour it into a piece of cheesecloth, the foot section of a clean nylon stocking, or the leg of an old pantyhose. Knot the material, and tie it around the faucet of your bathtub so the bag is suspended under the running water. Fill the tub with lukewarm water and soak in it for 30 minutes. You may find additional relief by applying the oatmeal pouch directly to the rash or pox.
BAKING SODA: Baking soda can speed up recovery. The baking soda helps draw out the toxins effectively when applied on the rash. All you need to do is mix 3 teaspoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon water and apply the paste to the affected areas. When it dries, the baking soda will flake off, providing at least temporary relief. Another poison ivy home remedy is to soak in a cool bath with 1 cup of baking soda mixed in.
Try these simple home remedies to get rid of the intense itch and rash caused by Poison Ivy!