Medically the review by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — composed by Rebecca Morris — updated on march 7, 2019

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It starts innocently enough. Girlfriend chop down a scraggly shrub if trimming your lawn. Then, her arms and legs start tingling and turn red. Prior to you understand it, there’s an itchy rash. Much too so late you realize that shrub was in reality poison ivy.

Finding toxicity ivy is simple in the unified States, where it grows virtually almost everywhere except because that Alaska, Hawaii, and some desert locations of the Southwest. It likewise grows in components of Canada, Mexico, and also Asia.

It’s easy to determine by its clusters of 3 pointed leaves. In the spring, the leaves can have a reddish tint. Castle turn eco-friendly in summer and various shades of red, yellow, or orange in the fall.


how it spreads

Poison ivy produce an oil dubbed urushiol that reasons a decision in around 85 percent of people who come in contact with it, note the American Academy of Dermatology.

The decision isn’t contagious to others. This is due to the fact that it’s a skin reaction to the oil. However, the oil itself deserve to spread come others.

Urushiol is tenacious. It’ll stick to nearly anything: her clothes and also shoes, camping and also gardening equipment, even your pets’ or horses’ coats.

It can transfer to and also from your hands to her cell phone or any kind of object you touch and spread to others. And also it’s in essentially every component of the plant: leaves, stems, also the roots. Brushing versus a winter-bared vine can still reason the rash.

Read on because that some methods to prevent getting a toxicity ivy rash.


1. Dress for success

If you understand you’re heading right into a poison ivy stronghold, prepare by covering as much of her skin together possible. An excellent frontline defenses include:

long-sleeved shirtspants, which can be tucked right into socks if neededhatsheavy-duty rubber glovessocksclosed-toe pair of shoes
2. Lather, rinse, repeat

Rinsing her skin with lukewarm, soapy water or rubbing alcohol within around an hour of emotional poison ivy can remove the urushiol and aid you avoid a decision — or at the very least make it less severe.

You’ll likewise need to wash anything rather that’s come into contact with the plant. Urushiol have the right to remain potent because that years. Skipping the cleanup can lead to one more rash later.

Some civilization swear that dishwashing liquid can help wash the oil from her skin. Other specialty washes include products by brand such as Burt’s Bees, Ivarest, and also Tecnu.


3. Block the oil

If a preventative measure is what you’re after, over-the-counter (OTC) creams can delay urushiol native penetrating the skin. Friend can gain IvyX and other obstacle creams from your regional drugstore or online.

The cream demands to it is in thickly used all over her skin much less than an hour before you expect to it is in exposed to a poison ivy plant. If you’re exposed, you need to wash every the cream turn off within four hours that the exposure to keep your skin from absorbing the urushiol.


4. Wash, rinse, soak

If friend do construct a toxicity ivy rash, mean it to take it one to 3 weeks to clean up. To wash well v soap and also lukewarm water come get any type of residual oil turn off the skin as soon as girlfriend can.

Once the decision develops, water deserve to be reassuring and assist ease itching and also burning. Soaking in cool-water baths containing an oatmeal-based product such as one by Aveeno should administer relief, follow to the mei Clinic.

Also, place a cool, wet compress on the rash because that 15 to 30 minutes number of times a day should help.


5. Cortisone and also calamine

OTC cortisone creams and calamine lotion can assist ease several of the itchiness that a poison ivy rash. Monitor the label directions when applying. Make certain to wash and also dry the area before reapplying.

Other commodities that may assist with itching include:

a 3-to-1 ratio of baking soda to water paste applied to the skin cucumber slices put on the rash

You can additionally mash increase cucumber right into a paste and also apply to the rash come soothe your skin.


6. Try oral antihistamines

OTC antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin) and also diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can assist ease your itching and also inflammation, too. Benadryl has actually the included benefit of making some human being sleepy. This could assist boost your comfort at bedtime.

There are plenty of other OTC antihistamines. Talk to her pharmacist for advice top top choices.

Don’t apply an antihistamine cream to her rash, though. It deserve to actually make the itching worse.

Applying rubbing alcohol to a rashes can help dry the up and also prevent infection. Part other home remedies that act as astringents and can dry up a toxicity ivy rashes include:

witch hazelapple cider vinegara dough of baking soda and water
7. Call the professionals

If her rash is widespread, ~ above your confront or genitals, or has actually caused numerous blisters, contact your doctor. They’ll have the ability to prescribe a steroid, such as prednisone, to help ease the itching and also inflammation.

Depending on her condition and also your doctor’s preference, you might be provided steroid pills, a shot, or topical preparations such together gels, ointments, or creams.

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Sometimes if you scratch your skin or your blisters rest open, friend can construct a bacterial infection. Your medical professional can give you a prescription antibiotic if the happens. The prescription may be for pills, a cream, or both.


8. Head for help

If friend have any kind of of the adhering to symptoms, head to the emergency room or urgent care center:


critical medically reviewed on July 9, 2018


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Medically the review by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — created by Rebecca Morris — update on in march 7, 2019

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