Growing up in the country has its perks, but poison ivy is not one of them! The condition can cause allergic contact dermatitis and will have you dying to scratch your skin if you are one of the many that don’t take well to the oils secreted by these leaves. My skin is very sensitive to the plant, and there were times it seemed as if the wind carried the oils to my skin, because I would break out without even touching the stuff. After many bouts of reacting to poison ivy, here are some ways my mom taught me how to reduce the itching and symptoms and prevent outbreaks.
Razor blade and alcohol
This method is going to sound very crazy to many, but it actually really works. Those who have never had a severe case of poison ivy would probably think I’m nuts for using this trick, but after insanely itchy skin and giant blisters that last between seven and fourteen days for me, razorblades and alcohol sounded heavenly. First, clean the razor blade and poison ivy ridden skin with alcohol. Then take the razor blade and drag it slowly against the skin where the blisters have formed. This will pop the blisters. Then coat the area with another helping of alcohol, and bandage the area loosely to help prevent infection. Using the razor blade will feel insanely relieving to your itchy skin, too. This clears up the itching and blisters much faster for me. Although this seems like scratching the skin, it’s important not to scratch your skin if you are not using this method. Without the alcohol and special treatment, it could spread, or get infected if you are freely scratching.
Wash everything in question
If you have been near poison ivy, oak, or sumac, it is important that you wash your entire body, clothes, and any other objects that may have the plant oils on it. You can even get the allergic reaction when trying to burn the plants because the oils become airborne. Animals can also carry the oils, so if they have been near the plants and you didn’t know it, you could pet them and have an allergic reaction.
This lovely pink concoction will be your go-to medication for a Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, or Poison Sumac outbreak. When you feel so miserable you cannot contain yourself, you can rub some calamine lotion on the affected areas and will begin feeling relief shortly. The lotion helps dry the blisters, saving you a few days of misery.
For those who have really severe reactions to poison ivy, a trip to the doctor is necessary. My mom would get poison ivy often, and would break out all over her body with swelling and giant blisters. Her outbreaks were so bad that she would need to visit the doctor for cortisone shots. If you notice swelling of the eyes, body, or throat, and blisters, a trip to the doctor should be in order.