Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a shrub-like plant and is widely spread. It belongs to the cashew family and produces a chemical called urushiol. This chemical urushiol is what causes the rashes, when the plant comes in contact with the skin. It is present in almost all the parts of the poison ivy plant. Other plants that produce urushiol are poison oak and poison sumac, and they develop similar types of rashes.
Preventing contact with poison ivy is the best way to avoid these troublesome rashes. Some people are immune to these plants and do not develop rashes when they come in contact with them. However, people who get affected due to urushiol, develop skin rashes with red bumps, blisters, and itchy rashes that cause too much of discomfort. Here are some of the treatments that one should follow, on getting exposed to the plant.
Treating the Rashes
Immediate treatment after coming in contact with poison ivy will surely help one get rid of those irritant rashes. The very first thing that one should do when he/she comes in contact with the plant is, washing the affected area thoroughly. This is necessary for avoiding the absorption of urushiol by the skin. Once urushiol enters the skin, it is difficult to get rid of the rashes quickly. Thus, one should try to clean away the urushiol from the skin surface, as mush as possible.
Here are some first aid steps that one should follow on exposure to the plant. If one follows these primary steps, the chances of developing serious skin rashes reduce.
- With the help of rubbing alcohol, clean the affected area.
- One should remove all the outfits worn during the contact with the plant and clean them with the help of gloves. The outfits may contain some amount of urushiol and hence, they need to be cleaned to get rid of the chemical.
- Bathe with lukewarm water and soap.
- Apply lotions like calamine which will reduce the skin irritation.
- Use commercial products that will absorb urushiol, thereby preventing it from getting into the skin.
Some Home/Natural Remedies
There are plenty of home remedies that can help one get rid of this condition, along with reducing the itching caused. Here are some of them:
Oatmeal Bath: This is said to be the best cure for this condition. All one has to do is prepare an oatmeal like usually prepared for breakfast and allow it to cool down. Later, apply it to the affected area and leave it to dry.
Banana Peel: Rub the inner side of the peeled banana over the affected skin. This is believed to be one of the effective treatments for this skin problem.
Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe vera, which is a home remedy for many of the skin irritations, is also said to be useful for this condition. Apply the aloe vera gel to the affected area and leave it to dry and wash it later on.
Honey: This is believed to be the best healer for this skin condition. Applying honey to the rash will not only relieve the burning sensation, but will also help reduce the itching caused due to it.
A few other natural remedies are as follows:
- Garlic Juice
- Baking Soda
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.