The poison ivy plant is a poisonous plant that is commonly found in North America. Urushiol, which is a colorless and odorless oil or resin present in the leaves, stem, or the roots of this plant, is allergenic in nature. Direct or indirect contact with this liquid gives rise to an allergic reaction that is characterized by the development of a rash, swelling, blisters, and itching on the skin.
The oil can also get transferred to pets, clothing, or any other object, and one might develop an allergy on coming in contact with any such object. The severity of the reaction depends on the patient's sensitivity, degree of exposure, and the body part that is exposed.
Usually 24 to 48 hours after exposure, the patient may experience skin irritation signs such as redness, blistering, and severe itching. The most common symptoms caused by this toxic plant include reddish, inflamed skin having red pimples or blister-like bumps, a burning sensation in the affected area, or fever.
Though the symptoms may take 1 or 2 weeks to appear, this condition is not contagious. One is more likely to get the rash on the hands, arms, legs, face, feet, and sometimes on other body parts like the stomach and back.
Home Remedies for Poison Ivy Rash
The first step is to place the affected area under cold running water. The application of calamine lotion on the affected skin is one of the common remedies. Given below are some of simple home remedies that can help provide relief from the itchy rashes caused by poison ivy.
- If affected by this plant, never use warm or hot water to wash or bathe, as urushiol can the plant secretes oil that disperses in warm water. Therefore, always wash or bathe with cold water, so that the oil doesn't spread to other areas.
- You can also use Fels-Naptha soap on the area and then rinse with cold water.
- Mix equal quantities of buttermilk, vinegar, and salt. Rub this mixture on the rash. Though it might not provide relief immediately, you might experience relief after a while.
- A paste of baking soda and water can be applied on the rash.
- Vitamin C along with bioflavonoids help in preventing the rash from spreading. It might prevent secondary infection and help treat inflammation.
- Intake of calcium, beta-carotene, and zinc helps to boost the body's immune system, which speeds up healing, and repairs damaged skin tissues.
- Make a paste with ¼ cup of bleach and ¾ cup of warm water. Apply it to the affected area using a washcloth. It will help resolve the allergic reaction within 2 to 3 days.
- One natural remedy is to apply the sap of jewelweed which is present in the thick stems of the tall and lanky plant. A solution may be prepared by boiling the parts of this plant in water for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow the solution to cool, then strain and apply the liquid to the affected area.
- Soaking 3 cups of oats in water and applying the paste on the affected area also helps in relieving the itchy sensation.
You can also apply aloe gel, white or apple cider vinegar, honey, or banana peel on the affected area. Arnica, apis, and bryonia are some homeopathic remedies for this condition. Not every home remedy might provide the desired results, and herbal or homeopathic remedies must be followed only after consulting a herbalist or a homeopathic practitioner.
Anaphylaxis or severe allergic reactions can be life-threatening, which is why it is advisable to seek medical assistance for timely treatment. Also, consult a doctor, if urushiol has come in contact with delicate skin on the face or groin.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.