Have you noticed the preponderance of poison ivy lately. For the past few years, it has just spread out and made itself at home in my yard. So far, I’m not affected by it, so it’s my job to pull it out and dispose of it. Even so, I always wear disposable gloves. My biggest worry is that someone will toss it into a heap and burn it. You do not want to inhale those fumes.
Poison ivy is hardy enough to live through our winters. It doesn’t even have the courtesy to lose its potency while dormant. So we have to be vigilant. The American Academy of Dermatology offers some tips for lessening the effects of poison ivy rash, as well as guidelines for when you need medical help. Don’t be brave. If you have trouble breathing or extensive blistering, get to an emergency room.
You can find their whole list of tips here, but these are a few I found interesting.
❦ Take short, lukewarm baths with a colloidal oatmeal preparation. Colloidal oatmeal is ground very fine, so it mixes with the water, rather than forming a paste. You can find it in most drugstores. You could substitute 1 cup of baking soda, if you can’t find colloidal oatmeal.
❦ Apply cool compresses to the itchy skin. They suggest wetting a washcloth with cold water, wringing it out and pressing it against the rash. When I have my annual disagreement with the bees that take up residence in the bottom of my containers, the only thing that relieves the itch is an ice pack pressed against the sting. That would be my recommendation.
❦ Consider taking antihistamine pills. I don’t know why this never occurred to me. The body releases histamine when it’s attracted by a foreign substance like the poison ivy oil. They do caution not to use antihistamine lotions directly on the rash, which could make it worse.
Of course, you need to wash everything that came in contact with the poison ivy and try your best not to scratch. If you don’t know how to recognize poison ivy, it’s time to learn. This is one you really want to avoid. Hey, at least it’s not contagious.