Commonly found in the wild, poison ivy is one of those plants that can cut short your summer trip and make you scurry back home in a jiffy. For the plant contains urushiol, a colorless oil that is released whenever anyone cuts, crushes, grabs or even slightly disturbs it in any way (including stepping, sitting and rolling on it).
The urushiol found in the poison ivy plant is extremely infectious and can easily pass onto the victim when the latter so much as brushes a crushed plant or stem (from where the oil oozes). After contact, the oil would penetrate the skin and trigger an allergic reaction within 48 hours.This allergic reaction in turn would lead to the formation of rashes on the skin surface. With time, the rashes would transform into small bumps which would in turn develop into large, itchy and extremely painful blisters.
Effective Home Remedies For Poison Ivy Rashes
If you get infected by poison ivy, you would need to trust your body to battle it out with the oil and its allergic properties. However, there are certain home remedies that can help reduce the symptoms of poison ivy and offer relief from the same until the infection is completely flushed out of the system. Here are some of the more common home remedies for poison ivy rashes.
1. Don’t Scratch The Blisters
One of the best advises for any kind of skin infection involving rashes, burns and blisters is to leave the infected area alone. Picking, prodding and scratching the infected skin can aggravate the symptoms of the condition and cause re-infections.
And even though poison ivy is not a contagious condition, you risk the chance of breaking the blisters if you scratch them. This can cause bleeding and can also increase the chances of bacteria entering the wound and causing infections.
2. Jump Into The Swimming Pool
Did you know that chlorine actually treats poison ivy rashes by drying them quickly? Jumping into a chlorinated swimming may just be the remedy you need to get rid of the infection quickly.
Don’t worry though for the chlorine content of the water in the pool would dilute the Urushiol and prevent it from infecting anyone else who swims in the pool. However, you need to note that this remedy can work well only on small rashes and may not be that effective on large blisters.
3. Make Use Of Cold Compresses
Cold compresses can provide relief from the discomfort, pain, itchiness and irritation caused by large blisters during a poison ivy infection. You can choose to apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas over the blisters for about 15 minutes.
Alternatively, you can dip a towel in icy cold water and wrap it around the blisters to get relief. Just make sure you dry the area properly after applying the compress. Do not rub the area. Instead, air dry it to get relief.
4. Put Banana Peels To Good Use
If you have a poison ivy infection, try rubbing some banana peels over the blisters to get relief from the symptoms of the condition. This home remedy is considered very effective in reducing the itchiness and irritation caused by poison ivy rashes.
Follow this remedy at least twice a day for extended relief (rubbing the peels on the rashes can offer comfort for almost 8 hours at a stretch).
5. Watermelon Helps Too
Watermelon can prove to be effective in more than one way when it comes to treating poison ivy rashes at home. Cut out a piece of watermelon (keep it in the refrigerator for about 2 hours beforehand) and scoop out the flesh.
Place the ice-cold watermelon rind on the rashes to get comfort. The juice oozing from the rind would help dry the blisters quickly so that they fall off soon.
6. Boil Some Acorns
Acorn nuts can help soothe the irritation and pain caused by the rashes and blisters during a poison ivy infection. Crack open a few acorns. Boil the nuts in water for about 20 minutes.
Strain the resultant solution and let it cool down completely (you can refrigerate it for better results). Apply the liquid over the rashes and blisters at regular intervals throughout the day to get relief.
7. Use Liquid Dish Soaps
Dish soaps usually work against the oils present on the skin surface. Since poison ivy is caused by an allergic reaction to Urushiol, washing the infected areas with liquid dish soaps can remove the infectious plant oil and reduce the symptoms of the condition to a great extent.
8. Try A Baking Soda Solution
Baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) can effectively flush out the infection and the oil causing it from the system. Mix baking soda and water in the ratio 3:1 to form a thick paste.
Refrigerate the paste for about half an hour and apply it over the rashes. You can substitute baking soda with oatmeal which you can grind and then mix with water to form the required paste.
9. Soak In A Bath
Fill the bathtub with lukewarm water and add ½ cup of bleaching powder to it. Let the powder dissolve in the water completely. Soak in the water for about half an hour to get relief from the symptoms of a poison ivy infection. You can also add a few drops of vinegar to a bathtub filled with lukewarm water and soak in it. This can bring down the itching and irritation caused by the rashes to an extent. Alternatively, you can wash the rashes and blisters with the solution or apply a few drop of diluted vinegar on the rashes.
Make sure you rinse properly afterwards though. Chamomile tea has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat the symptoms of a poison ivy infection effectively, including rashes, spots and blisters. Place at least 12 chamomile tea bags in a bathtub filled with lukewarm water and soak in it for about 30 minutes to get immense relief from the pain and discomfort associated with poison ivy infections.
10. Use Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes can take care of a variety of inflammatory conditions, and can help reduce the rashes and blisters caused by poison ivy infections. Blend a potato nicely to form a paste and apply it on the rashes and blisters at regular intervals throughout the day. With time, the blisters and rashes would come down.
11. Try Yogurt or Buttermilk
Unless you are allergic to dairy products, you can use this remedy to reduce the rashes and blisters caused by a poison ivy infection.
The proteins present in yogurt and buttermilk will help flush out the fluids from the blisters, forcing them to dry up and fall off quickly. Therefore, applying buttermilk or yogurt on the rashes and blisters can help treat them effectively.