"I HAVE THE RASH.... NOW WHAT?!?!"
First of all, please seek professional help if you're having a severe allergic reaction,
if you think you inhaled the oil from a burning plant or vine,
have a rash in your mouth, mucous membranes, near your eyes, or on any other sensitive body part.
If not, here are suggestions from the net and from my friends who have gotten into ivy.
(That being said, they aren't doctors, so you may wish to consult with one of those.)
First, make certain the oil is washed off of your skin at a sink or in the shower before soaking in a
bathtub. If not, the oil may release into the bathwater and re-attach itself
to you when you're getting out of the tub (and it could re-attach itself in a less-than-desireable
location on your body). If you took a shower to get the oil off of you and then want to soak in the same tub,
it's a good idea to clean the tub first.
Witch hazel can create a cooling and calming effect on skin.
It provides immediate relief to the area and is safe to use anywhere on the body (avoiding the eyes, of course)
It can also be safely used on children. Just put some on a cotten ball or cloth
and apply to the skin.
Aloe vera (either a leaf from a live plant or aloe vera gel) can also provide cooling relief.
Aloe may also speed healing. Make sure to purchase a product that is as close to 100% aloe gel as possible.
Some products call themselves aloe but have all sorts of other ingredients, which will
probably decrease their effectiveness in this case. Aloe is also good for sunburns.
Use a cold, wet compress to ease itching.
Add about 5 cups
ground oatmeal or baking soda to a cool bath and soak for 15 to 30 minutes.
Add baking soda or Epsom salts to your bath or make a paste of either and apply it to the
rash. Get a lotion containing calamine, alcohol and zinc acetate since these
will dry the blisters and help speed the healing process.
Bentonite clay has a reputation for drawing out toxins: make a thick paste with water and
let it almost dry on your skin, then wash it off. If nothing else, it will help dry the ooze up and it is very cooling.
Use an antihistamine such as Benadryl, but be prepared to go to sleep... because you will.
Jewelweed and plantain (as mentioned on What to Do If You've Gotten Into Poison Ivy might also help.
Rubbing alcohol seems to dry out the weepiness of the rash.
If you're into essential oils
and know how to use them safely, peppermint (which contains menthol), camphor, tea tree, and/or lavender
may be very effective. Dillute in a base of vinegar or rubbing alcohol and apply.
Do not dillute in a base of oil or jojoba in this case.
I have not tried any of the above since it's been so long since I've gotten into ivy.
However, I can tell you what I or my friends have had work:
Very helpful: Rhus Tox
This is a homeopathic remedy for poison ivy, oak and sumac rashes.
My friend swears by this stuff. She said she'd gotten a small area of the
rash and started using Rhus Tox and it went away within 12 hours.
I don't know how effective it would be on large rashes,
but it's cheap and easy to take and worth a try.
Be certain to follow the directions: homeopathic remedies must be taken in a clean mouth
(for example, don't drink coffee or eat and immediately take a remedy.) I order mine from
They offer very good natural remedies inexpensively and they ship very quickly.
Put in code RIN187 in "Apply coupon code" at checkout and get a $5 to $10 discount
on your first order!
Helpful: Benadryl Anti-Itch Cooling Gel For Kids (similar to what was "Rhuli" Gel)
I used Rhuli in the early 90's when I got into ivy and it was very effective.
But, Rhuli was bought out by Band Aid and then just disappeared off the market.
The closest thing I've found with similar ingredients is
"Benadryl Anti-Itch Cooling Gel For Kids", however, I've heard it is not as effective.
I've had good luck with it on bug bites. It has similar ingredients to Rhuli
(camphor, menthol, and alcohol) which help to control the itch and help
dry out the rash, but I'm still annoyed that Rhuli is off the market.
Of course, avoidance is the best remedy! Always remember these sayings:
- "Leaves of 3, Let it be!"
- "Berries white, run in fright"
- "If it's hairy, it's scary!"
(Refers to the vines... that's my personal favorite)
Other Poison Ivy Topics: