How to Cure Poison Ivy
Poison ivy, and its pestilent cousins poison oak and poison sumac, can give you a wretched rash if come into contact with it. If you’ve suffered the unfortunate event of running into a poison ivy plant, try these methods for getting rid of the rash that accompanies it.
Toxicodendron radicans, commonly known as poison ivy (older synonyms are Rhus toxicodendron and Rhus radicans), is a poisonous North American and Asian flowering plant that is well known for causing an itching, irritating, and sometimes painful rash in most people who touch it, caused by urushiol, a clear liquid compound in the sap of the plant.  It is variable in its appearance and habit, and despite its common name it is not a true ivy (Hedera). T. radicans is commonly eaten by many animals and the seeds are consumed by birds, but is most often thought of as a weed.
Method 1 of 2: Treating Immediately
1) Rinse your skin. If you are outdoors when the poison ivy strikes, head for a stream or the beach for some water. Rinse the area that came in contact with cold water, being careful not to touch it too much with your hands or other parts of your body. Use the coldest water you are able to find as it will help to close up the pores in your skin, whereas hot water opens them and allows more of the toxic oil in.
- If you encounter poison ivy near the beach, run to the water and use some wet sand to scrub at the area where the rash appeared. Then soak the rash in cold seawater.
- Avoid showering your whole body to rinse the rash, as you may worsen your exposure by spreading the rash to other parts of your body.
2) Dab on some rubbing alcohol. Pour a bit of rubbing alcohol onto a cotton pad and smear it over the affected area. Drowning out the skin with the rubbing alcohol may stop the spread of the poison, and prevent the rash from becoming even worse in the future. Do this as soon as you are able in order to prevent the rash from growing.
3) Wash off with dish soap. The toxins from the poison ivy plant are an oil, and therefore won’t be able to be removed completely with just water. Use a dish soap that advertises breaking up oil to wash the affected area. The dish soap should help to minimize the spread of the poison and limit the rash.
4) Put on an ice pack. Closing off your pores will keep your skin from absorbing the toxic oils. Hold a cold compress or an ice pack to the rash to constrict the pores. Doing this will also feel soothing on the blistered skin.
5) Remove any clothes that came in contact with the poison. If your clothes are covered in the oil from the plant, touching them later could spread the rash to other parts of your body. Remove any clothes near the area and wash them immediately, separate from any other laundry.
6) Crush up some jewelweed. If you are outdoors, look for jewelweed – a plant that often grows near poison ivy and is a natural cure for the toxins. It can be recognized as a low growing leafy bush with yellow and orange bell shaped flowers. Crush up some of the weeds to form a paste, and then smear them across the rash. Leave the paste for as long as you can, replacing with a paste of fresh jewelweed when it becomes dried out.
Method 2 of 2: Treating at Home After Exposure
Kitchen cupboard remedies
1) Make a paste of baking soda. This common household item will work to draw out the poisons in the skin and sooth the rash once it has already formed. Mix baking soda with a bit of water to form a paste, and then dab it onto the rash. Let it set until it dries out, and then rinse off with cool water. This process can be repeated several times daily until the rash disappears.
2) Wash with vinegar. Vinegar works many wonders, including helping to heal a poison ivy rash. Use regular or apple cider vinegar and pour it over the area. Let it sit on the rash until it evaporates. You can also pour some onto a cotton ball and dab it onto the rash for a more specific location.
3) Put on some cold coffee. Brew up a cup of regular coffee and let it cool or place it in the refrigerator. Pour it onto the rash or use a cotton pad to dab it on. Coffee contains an acid that works as an anti-inflammatory, which soothes the rash and brings down any swelling and redness.
4) Take an oatmeal bath. Oatmeal has long been used as a skin-soothing agent, and can be added to a bath to create a relaxing soak. Buy an oatmeal bath product or grind a cup of oatmeal in your blender and add it to a bath full of warm water. Soak in the mixture for 20 minutes to remove the itch of the rash.
5) Take a tea bath. Fill a hot bath with 6-8 bags of black tea. Black tea contains tannic acid, an anti-inflammatory that can help soothe a poison ivy rash. Soak in the tea for 20 or more minutes for the best results.
6) Use dish detergent, then oats. Wash the infected area with Dawn Dish detergent or any other brand that breaks up oils. Rinse the area with a lukewarm water, followed by cool water, to close up the pores. Apply witch hazel solution after it dries. Then, take a knee high sock or stocking and put some oatmeal inside it, tying it shut. Heat a small amount of water for about 1 minute. Insert the oat-filled knee high, end down into the hot water. When this has soaked a couple of minutes, squeeze out and dab onto affected areas. This will work as a drying agent. This method works well.
For the rest of the article on getting rid of Poison Ivy, visit WikiHow’s article: Get Rid of Poison Ivy Rashes