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Poison Ivy Treatment

Poison Ivy Treatment

Poison ivy is a plant that can cause skin irritations when our skin comes in direct contact with it. The resultant skin problem requires immediate treatment. Here's more about the related symptoms and treatment options.
HolisticZine Staff
Poison ivy is a shrub-type plant that is widely spread and found in almost all parts in the world. This tree is predominantly found in eastern United States. The scientific name of poison ivy is Toxicodendron radicans, and it belongs to the plant family Anacardiaceae, which is cashew family. The classification of poison ivy is as given below.

Kingdom Plantae
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Magnoliopsida
Subclass Rosidae
Order Sapindales
Family Anacardiaceae
Genus Toxicodendron

Symptoms 

Many of the plants of this family create a chemical called urushiol, which is an irritant. This irritant causes skin problems by forming red rashes, bumps, and also causes too much discomfort. The skin allergy caused is called Rhus dermatitis. Not every person develops skin rashes with this irritant, because some are immune to this chemical. However, some people face very harmful skin irritations due to urushiol. The effect depends on the time of exposure of the skin to it. If it is washed away soon after exposure, the consequences will not be that serious. Other trees that also produce urushiol are poison oak and poison sumac. The chemical gets absorbed in the body within three minutes after exposure. Skin rashes develop soon after a day or two of the exposure. These rashes remain for at least three weeks, and they become worse if they spread to different parts of the body. The rash spreads because urushiol is absorbed in the body to a high extent.
  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Itchy rashes
  • Red colored bumps
  • Blisters with fluid inside them

Treatment

Treatment, if given soon after the exposure to urushiol, can help get rid of the rashes soon. The treatment can be given at home, and usually does not require medical treatment. However, this only helps reduce the pain or irritation, and do not cure the rash soon enough.

Few steps need to be followed soon after the exposure to urushiol. Clean the exposed area by rubbing alcohol. Wash the affected area with water. Later, bathe with lukewarm water and soap. Then, with the help of gloves, clean all the outfits that were worn during the contact with the tree. If these steps are followed soon after the exposure, it will check the spread of urushiol to other parts of the body. The chances of developing a rash reduces when these steps are followed.

When the rash is severe, one may need to take medical help. There are a few creams called corticosteroid creams, that relieve the itching irritation and reduce the rash. Antihistamine tablets are also used to decrease the itchiness. Few antibiotics are recommended when the affected skin is infected initially. Oral corticosteroid tablets, that work similar to corticosteroid creams, are also used sometimes. Although, before using any of these medications, one should always consult a doctor.

Natural Remedies

Oatmeal
Oatmeal can be used as a scrub while bathing. All you have to do is boil oatmeal and leave it for some time to cool down. Then, apply the paste to the affected area in the form a thick coat. Keep the paste on until it dries, and wash it off later. Sometimes, baking soda and cornstarch is added to the oatmeal.

Aloe Vera Gel
It is the best healer for skin allergies. Aloe vera gel not only soothes the rash, but also helps in healing it. Applying aloe vera gel gives cooling relief to the affected area.

Banana Peel
This home remedy is said to be the best cure for the itchiness. Rub the banana peel gently on the affected area, and you will get a cool feeling.

Jewelweed
Surprisingly, the best natural remedy for poison ivy grows near it. Jewelweed is a thick plant filled with sap. The liquid extracted from its leaves and stem is very useful. Break a branch and prepare a mixture of its sap and water. Boil the mixture for at least 10 - 15 minutes, and once it cools down, apply it to the affected area.

Calamine Lotion
This is the most popular method for relieving the itching of poison ivy. Apply the solution to the affected area, and it will leave a powder-like form when it dries.

Honey, baking soda, vinegar, watermelon, and potato are some other home remedies for rashes caused by poison ivy.
Prevention is always better when it comes to poison ivy. Learn how the tree looks like and try to avoid contact with it. Try to wear clothes that will cover your whole body when you are walking in a lush green, bushy area. Immediate treatment can help you get rid of the severe rash. Every year, almost 50% of Americans suffer from these rashes.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.