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Poison Ivy Home Remedies.

POISON IVY HAS BEEN spreading throughout the country, particularly in urban areas or areas with increased development.

The good news is that not everybody is sensitive to the oils in poison ivy. If you are, you're probably also sensitive to poison sumac and poison oak. Only about 15% of people who are sensitive to poison ivy will experience a severe reaction. These easy poison ivy hacks will also work if you're exposed to poison oak or poison sumac.


The best poison ivy hack of all is prevention! If you're in an area and unsure of whether you were actually exposed to poison ivy, you can take some easy precautions to prevent a rash or skin irritation. Make sure you wear gloves, long pants, and high socks in any areas you suspect poison ivy may be present. When you get home, put your clothes right into the washing machine and wash with hot water to remove the oils. You can scrub any exposed skin with a strong soap and hot water to dissolve any oils that may be present on your skin.

Sometimes, just prevention alone can prevent a rash or skin irritation. But if you miss a spot ...

* Oatmeal baths are my favorite way to relieve the itchy irritating rash from poison ivy. Soak in a warm (not hot) bath with two to four cups of ground oatmeal for 20 minutes. If you can't get the affected area into the bathtub (like the back of the neck or a shoulder), use warm compresses with ground oatmeal.

* Essential oils can be used for relieving the irritation from poison ivy, but never put undiluted oil directly on the affected area! Undiluted essential oils can cause a whole new level of skin irritation, so always make sure you dilute them in warm (not hot) water before soaking a compress and applying to skin. Some of my favorite essential oils for poison ivy relief include lavender, rose geranium, tea tree oil, and helichrysum. Make sure that you're using pure essential oils and not scented oils when using them medicinally. (Bonus: tea tree oil also has strong antibiotic properties that will help prevent a skin infection from badly irritated skin!)

* Bentonite clay is a great poison ivy hack because the drying effect of the clay will help relieve irritated skin. Mix a small amount of bentonite clay with enough water to make a smooth paste. You can add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil, and gently apply to the affected area three to four times a day until you notice some healing.

* Witch hazel and baking soda are my go-to natural remedies for skin irritation from poison ivy or poison oak. These are especially great for using with kids, as they don't require sitting still for very long. Witch hazel can simply be sponged onto the affected areas using cotton balls three to four times a day. Baking soda can be made into a thin paste and then applied to the affected area. I prefer to cover the baking soda with a light gauze or bandage until it dries.

* Echinacea doesn't seem like it would be an effective poison ivy hack, but you know what? Echinacea taken internally can actually help relieve the histamine reaction in the body that causes the skin irritation from poison ivy. Taking a small dose of echinacea three times a day (in addition to any of the other topical hacks listed above) can speed the healing of a poison ivy rash. In addition, you can dilute a liquid echinacea dietary supplement with a small amount of water and apply it directly to the affected area. Look for dietary supplements that use the whole herb and not a highly processed caplet form from the grocery store.

If you or someone in your family is exposed to poison ivy and develops difficulty breathing, dizziness, severe swelling, fever, or if the rash lasts for more than 30 days, please seek immediate medical care.

In the heart of the Adirondack mountains, JENNIFER VANBENCHOTEN raises chickens for eggs, keeps bees for honey, and grows her own food. Jennifer enjoys scratch cooking, writing creative nonfiction and poetry, teaching yoga, and creating handmade beaded jewelry.
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Author:Van Benschoten, Jennifer
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2019
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