Poison oak refers to a common skin irritation that is technically known as allergic contact dermatitis. It occurs due to contact with a poisonous plant native to West Coast of the United States. The condition is marked by itchy skin rash, blisters, and small bumps.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, poison oak is seen in 7 out of 10 people. Mayo Clinic states that the condition is caused by urushiol, the irritant that also leads to poison ivy rash. Luckily, the condition can be treated with the help of various home remedies in most cases. Nevertheless, if the symptom of respiratory distress is experienced or if eyes have been exposed to the plant, visiting the doctor is indispensable. Here are the most effective remedies for poison oak.
Home Remedies To Treat Poison Oak Naturally
First Go for Cleansing
As a first step, you need to wash the skin thoroughly with cool water and soap. It is advisable to scrub underneath fingernails and then rinse the skin. However, avoid using hot water, as it opens the pores due to which urushiol can penetrate deeper into the skin. If outdoors, you can trust the water from a natural source such as a pond for cleansing. Moreover, even timing is important.
MedlinePlus states that cleansing an hour after the plant has contacted the skin is not going to be effective. If the eyes have been exposed to the plant, you must use cool water to flush them in such a way that the water drains away from the face instead of penetrating into the other eye. Because of so much care required, medical assistance is required if eyes are exposed. You can take a cool shower once a rash or itching is experienced.
Have Oatmeal Baths
Colloidal oatmeal is derived from whole oats, which is converted into a fine powder for acting as a skin calming remedy. According to MayoClinic.com, using this oatmeal while bathing aids in soothing skin irritation and relieving itching. So, you can add a small amount of uncooked oatmeal to cool bathwater for experiencing relief from the skin-based symptoms of poison oak.
Alternatively, you can create a paste of cool water and oatmeal, and apply it to the skin for relief. Commercial products such as Aveeno oatmeal do have colloidal oatmeal as one of the ingredients due to which they are useful to treat skin rashes caused by poison oak, eczema, or psoriasis.
Take Temporary But Instant Relief from Cold Compresses
Because poison oak triggers red rash and blisters on the skin, cold compresses can be very effective in healing. You can use gauze or towel soaked in ice water to gain temporary relief as well as to avert the formation of hard crusts on the surface of the skin. In order to prevent scratching, you can apply moist bandages to the skin or rub an ice cube on the affected area to alleviate the urge to scratch.
Take The Advantage Of Baking Soda
Another cool home remedy is to take a cool bath with baking soda or with its paste. Just soak yourself in a tub in which half cup of baking soda is mixed to experience quick relief from rash.In case you wish to use a paste, just mix three parts of baking soda and one part of water together and then apply it on the rash. Do not remove it instantly, but allow it to dry on the skin. This will relieve you from the itch due to poison oak. Baking soda is a good alternative to oatmeal if the latter is not available in your home.
According to the experts, three percent hydrogen peroxide can be very relieving if the rash is accompanied by itchy, moist blisters. You can rub these blisters by using a cotton ball soaked in this solution. Many people have claimed that this remedy often triggers instant relief and heals the affected area. If needed, you can repeat the method several times a day.
Anti-itch creams, lotions, or oral anti-histamines are always beneficial for gaining relief from itching due to poison oak. According to experts, these products are rich in menthol and phenol, which tend to puzzle the nerve endings for triggering a cooling sensation.
Therefore, it is better to look for creams that have these ingredients. You can take oral antihistamines such as Benadryl that is easy to obtain from any pharmacy store. It functions by inhibiting the effects of histamine. Other options are suggested by Mayo Clinic, which entail corticosteroid creams that are over the counter medications. They are very effective when used during the initial few days of the outburst. However, overuse can cause upsetting skin conditions.
In order to prepare this mask, add one tablespoon of salt to a bowl containing 1/8 tablespoon of peppermint oil and blend well. Now, add one cup of green clay and some water to form a paste by stirring the ingredients. You can now apply this paste to the affected areas and then let it dry.
This mix will take away any oil that has remained on your skin after coming in contact with the poison oak plant. You can use this treatment twice a day. For long-term usage, store the leftover paste in the refrigerator.
A simple potato can also be your savior! Potato has been found to be effective in giving relief from irritation and itching that have been triggered by exposure to the plant. All you need to do is grind a peeled potato in a blender to form a fine pulp. You can now apply this pulp on your skin and cover the treated area with a plastic wrap. It is recommended that you apply this paste at night and leave it overnight so that itching and irritation can be relieved effectively. You can then wash the area in the morning. Repeat this procedure if the need arises.
These are the effective home remedies that you can try to treat poison oak. However, in case of anti-itch medications, it is better that you discuss with your doctor before taking any of them. In addition, you also need to ensure that you are not allergic to any of them.