How to Treat Poison Ivy
Poison ivy plants contain an oil (urushiol) that causes an itchy, blistering rash when it comes into contact with your skin. Urushiol can get on your skin, but can also get on your clothes, gardening tools, boots or shoes, even an animal’s fur. Any time your skin comes in contact with the oil, for example by petting your dog, you will develop the rash. So the best response in learning how to treat poison ivy is to avoid catching it in the first place. If you are trying to rid your yard of the plant, here a few tips to avoid exposure:
- Make sure you are fully covered up – long pants, long sleeves, socks and gloves.
- When you change your clothing, be careful of your face or exposed skin.
- Do not use a weed eater – as the oil will become airborne.
- Do not burn poison ivy, breathing in the smoke can pull the oil into your lungs
How to Treat Poison Ivy At Home
If you’ve been exposed to poison ivy, wash the affected area (or item) in lukewarm, soapy water. Do the best you can not to scratch at the rash. There are a number of over-the-counter remedies to choose from, including cortisone cream or calamine lotion – use whatever product is safe and most effective for you. Normally poison ivy will run its course in a week or two.
Time for Medical Attention
Though poison ivy is not usually life threatening, some people have much stronger allergic reactions than others. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call 9-1-1 and get to the Emergency Room right away:
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- The rash covers the majority of your body
- Swelling occurs, especially if your eye is swollen shut
- The rash develops on your face or genitals
Even without a health emergency, you may want some medical help to manage the symptoms. If you can’t handle the itching or it’s keeping you from sleeping or staying focused during work, come over to FastMed Urgent Care and let us see if we can help. You can find the Fast Med location nearest you by entering your zip code here.
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