Among all that leafy growth, however, poison ivy also grows. Every year, many outdoor lovers suffer from ivy rashes. How can you treat poison ivy once you’ve gotten it? And is there anything you can do to prevent getting a rash in the first place?
Prevention & Treatment of Poison Ivy Rashes
It would make sense to try and prevent ivy rashes to begin with. If you love being outdoors, chances are you will encounter ivy and you may not always be able to avoid coming in contact with it. It’s not also reasonable to wear long-sleeve pants and shirts. Even then, you may still get poison ivy on exposed parts of your body. If this is a regular problem for you, you may want to try a poison ivy cream. These creams are a sort of poison ivy block. IvyBlock, Ivy Shield, and Tecnu block the plant’s resin from contacting your skin.
If you do come in contact with poison ivy, a basic method of preventing poison ivy rashes is to wash right away with soap and water. The sooner, the better, as you’ll be able to wash off a better part of the resin on your skin. However, you may not be able to do this or even realize you need to in some cases. Products like Zanfel can be applied after the fact to prevent a rash from forming. If you plan to be far from civilization, and therefore a sink and soap, consider carrying a product like this with you.
What about after the fact? You’ve been exposed, you didn’t wash it off, and now you have a rash? There are different ways to deal with the itching and blistering. There is no cure so you just have to cope with the symptoms and wait for the rash to go away on its own (about three weeks). Calamine lotion is a common aid to reducing the itchiness but it also dries up blisters and helps the rash to heal faster. Cortisone can help with itching in some cases as well. Taking cool baths with baking soda or oatmeal mixed in can reduce itchiness. Cold compresses and pastes of baking soda applied on the rash also help with the symptoms.
If your ivy rashes gets worse or is covering a good portion of your body, you may want to see a doctor. Sometimes calamine lotion and oatmeal baths are not enough. If the symptoms are bad enough, you may need to go on a regimen of prednisone or another oral medication to heal. If this is the case, make sure you take the full prescribed amount; don’t stop just because you’re feeling better. The ivy could return and be just as bad or worse if you don’t completely kill it with the medication.
In summary, try to prevent poison ivy rashes with a poison ivy cream such as IvyBlock. Wash off the affected skin as soon as possible or apply a preventative like Zanfel. When you have a rash, try calamine lotion, baking soda, and cold compresses to cope with the itching. And if things are looking bad or you’re covered over a good portion of your body, see a doctor.