The irritation that comes with coming in contact with poison ivy and poison oak can be beyond annoying. The constant itching, the awful burning, and the reddening of the skin, can be truly unbearable. But if you’ve found yourself in this prickly predicament, don’t fret. There are a few surefire tricks to help you deal with poison ivy and poison oak. Utilize these tricks to save yourself from irritation:
Knowing what poison ivy and poison oak look like is the best way to prevent ever coming into contact with them. So before you go hiking, camping, or venturing into the unknown, do a bit of research first and familiarize yourself with these plants. When possible, avoid walking through bushes or wild plants. Stay on clear paths and keep children and pets close by.
If you happen to find poison ivy or oak growing on your property, carefully get rid of them. Wearing heavy-duty gloves, pull the plants from the ground, including the root, and dispose of them properly. Be sure to thoroughly wash your gloves after disposal.
If you believe you’ve come into contact with the poisonous plants, wash all contaminated objects immediately. This may be clothes, backpacks, gloves, shoes, etc. It’s important that you wash them right away even if you aren’t experiencing an allergic reaction. The urushiol resin from the plants may be on the objects but not directly on your skin. So carefully wash in a washer machine and avoid skin contact.
Believe it or not, there is a topical treatment that acts as a barrier for your skin. It’s called bentoquatam. This cream literally shields your skin and protects it from urushiol resin contact.
Over-the-counter medicated creams can help to ease the burning and itching sensation brought on by poison ivy and poison oak. Corticosteroids are specially formulated to reduce inflammation which can minimize rash symptoms. Calamine lotion is another cream that can be deployed to fight itchiness from poisonous plants.
Antihistamines are oral drugs that are typically used to treat allergic reactions. The reaction caused by poisonous plants is a form of allergy and therefore can be reduced by taking drugs like Benadryl or Zyrtec.
If you don’t have the time or patience to soak in a cool oatmeal bath, you can go the much simpler route. Take a cool rag and press it against the affected area for up to 30 minutes. While it doesn’t treat poison ivy and oak rashes, it can soothe the skin and reduce irritation. Try this several times a day until the rash fades away.
While poison ivy and poison oak rashes are no laughing matter, keep in mind that they typically go away on their own after a week or two.