treating poison ivy

anyone have a sure fire way of treating poison ivy rashes? reason i ask is my wife and i will be taking the kids on a wilderness trip and poison ivy is probably the most likely “emergency” we’ll encounter.

treating poison ivy
Use soap and water to wash off if you have been exposed to poison ivy, (or think you have) within 15 minutes. Otherwise, once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. You should know within 2 days. It is not contagious. Good luck.

interesting link from the FDA
that says NOT to wash with soap and water right away…first rubbing alcohol and then water and only then soap and water…they have found that soap and water alone pushes the urushiol oil around.(and for all those years my mother lied…that awful brown soap)

A topical antihistamine may help too. Remember calamine lotion…

in another article on the web it mentioned kids under 7 being relatively safe from it. Presumably they have not yet developed a sensitivity to it yet as their exposure has been limited.

I’ve had very good luck using
Tecnu from Oak-N-Ivy brand. It’s a wash you use post exposure and rinse off with cold water. I’ve had very good luck avoiding PI when using it within a few hours of exposure. Might be worth taking along some in your first aid kit. It’s made by Tec Laboratories of Albany, OR and can be found over the counter at drug stores.


I’ve always washed off
with soap and water. At summer camps, we always had the kids wash off upon contact and it worked very well. I (knock on wood) have never had it, but I must not be very sensitive. Kayamedic’s washing procedure seems to be the best. It really makes a difference to wash off immediately.

in the article …
“the potency of the urushiol can LAST FOR DECADES,” jesus h!!!


– Last Updated: Aug-14-07 10:17 AM EST –

once you've developed the rash, benadryl (diphenhydramine) by mouth and hydrocortisone cream on the rash is the way to go without prescription drugs. don't continue to wear the same clothing you wore when you became exposed as this can re-dose you with the uroshiol. contrary to popular lore poison ivy can't "spread". in severe cases you need an MD for a dose pack of prednisone (a steroid). -harry

Plain old Fels Naptha
"that awful brown soap" has always worked well for me.

Old Wive’s Tale says
use Irish Spring, special properties in it to wash off poison ivy. ; ) I have actually heard women camp director’s swear by this, but maybe they just had a crush on that guy in the commercial. (Dating myself, now).

Irish Spring
They probably dug him because of the cool pocket knife… :slight_smile:

easy & cheap & it works
1 Part baking soda 3 parts water and rub it on…15 minutes later it should already be drying right up.

have fun!


Natural Cure
I read in a Field & Stream issue long ago that Jewel weed works great as a cure for poison ivy. I am not really sure exactly what jewel weed looks like and have never tried it as a cure. Has anyone else heard of this or even tried it? As I remember it was an old Native American cure…

I did find this link after doing a google search:

Good Luck!

jewel weed

– Last Updated: Aug-17-07 10:18 AM EST –

yeah, a friend of my swears by jewel weed. he apparently reacts badly to poison ivy and says jw really works. the best thing about it is jw often grow very close to where pi are.

Anothe idea
On a reciant canoe carry,I was exposed to poison oak.By the time I got to the next putin I was starting to ich and get red.I washed my legs as best I could with creek water and applied sunscreen.I figgered-try something.It went away.No more symtoms.Maybe it would have anyway,maybe it was the water.Maybe something in the sunscreen.Who knows,but I would try the same thing next time.


Another vote for Tecnu
There is also a “blocker” available that you can pre-treat exposed areas with that will prevent the oil from reaching your skin (just remember to put it on before going into any suspect areas).

Since I’m very susceptible to poison ivy (steriod injections required to get rid of the stuff) I always carry a couple packets of the blocker and the wash. With this combination, I haven’t had problems in years.


There are a lot of home remedies
they all take 2 weeks to work. (including washing with water each day)

An injectable steroid is the only thing that dries it up faster.

I’ve never had any real success with cortisone creams.

The best cure is avoidance.


get this from your doctor
I’m highly allergic to poison ivy-my doctor prescribes a topical called Temovate. Its the only thing I know of that knocks the rash out in a couple of days. It gives immediate relief, and for me at least, the nasty part of the rash doesn’t last more than a day or two after a couple of applications. Its very expensive though, but it doesn’t take much to stop the rash either. A tube will, literally, last many seasons of ivy contact. (I get it every year living in the south, I’m on a tube that is a bit ‘old’ - but it still seems to work!)

yep, jewel weed
Also known as ‘touch-me-not’. Plants 2-4’ tall, light green hollow stems, small,orange or yellow horn shaped flowers, seed pods look like miniture footballs and spring open when you touch them. Haven’t suffered from poisonous plants myself but have helped fellow yakers and hikers cure it many times. Also works on sunburn, minor burns, stinging nettle rash, and who knows what more.

Crush the stem, wring out the juice, and apply.

Calimine lotion

– Last Updated: Aug-25-07 6:22 PM EST –

From Wikipedia

Calamine is a mixture of zinc oxide (ZnO) with about 0.5% iron(III) oxide (Fe2O3). It is the main ingredient in calamine lotion and is used as an antipruritic to treat sunburn, eczema, rashes, poison ivy, chickenpox, insect bites and stings. It is used as a mild antiseptic to prevent infections that can be caused by scratching the affected area. It is also used to dry weeping or oozing blisters and acne abscesses.

In 1992 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised that there was no proof the main ingredients in calamine, zinc oxide and ferric oxide, had any real therapeutic effect on rashes and itching, and predicted that calamine was destined to become the "dinosaur" of dermatology. However, many sources continue to recommend Calamine lotion:

to do
Wear long pants. Wash your hands. If you get it keep it dry, do not wear the same clothing (wash what you have worn). It will pass.