get rid of poison ivy
Poison sumac, poison oak, and poison ivy are unique plants that use an oil called urushiol to protect themselves. When urushiol comes into contact with the skin, it can cause a variety of reactions, from a basic rash to bubbly, burning skin to severe allergic reactions. It usually takes two to three weeks for the body to get over the reactions, but there are quicker ways to help your body fight this oil.
Dermatologists believe that 15% of the population will not have any type of allergic reaction to Urushiol. Unfortunately, the rest of us will have to suffer the consequences. The plant itself is widespread throughout much of the US and Canada, and you are likely to come across the plant. Knowing what the plant looks like is your first line of defense in dealing with these plants. The leaves are thin, shiny and, of course, green. It has three leaves and the edges are usually irregular. The general rule is “Leaves of three, let it be!” If you must work in or near poison ivy, wear long pants, socks, shoes and socks, long-sleeved shirts, and gloves. The worst thing is having poison ivy on your hands! Don’t burn poison ivy either because the oils can be airborne!
If you do all of that and you feel that itch, don’t scratch. Scratching will spread the urushiol and create more problems. It will take about 48 hours for symptoms to appear. It will start as small red dots that itch. After that, they can blister and begin to ooze. Stay inside and cool. The hot air will make it easier for the oil to penetrate into the pores. Wash skin immediately with cold water. Do not rub or use hot water. Don’t use soap because it may loosen the oil, but it may not wash off. Clean your nails because the oils can stay under your nails and cause further spreading. Let your skin air dry. It will help reduce itching and discharge. The exudate is just bodily fluids and not the oil.
The real trick is to get rid of the Urushiol and it’s very easy to do. Mineral spirits like Tecnu can kill the oil. Paint thinner or gasoline can also work, but be very careful. It will dry out your skin and you run the risk of burning your hand. It is not recommended to use paint thinner or gasoline. If you decide to use it, let it sit on your skin for a few minutes and then wash your skin thoroughly. It takes a few days for the swelling to go down, followed by cracking and peeling.
Although getting rid of Urushiol is easy, the symptoms can drive people crazy. Antihistamines don’t work very well to get rid of itching because of the type of reaction that poison ivy has. It is a type IV delayed hypersensitivity reaction, as opposed to an anaphylaxis reaction that most people have with pollen, cat hair, or other common allergies. Antihistamines can help you sleep and reduce the chances of itching while you sleep. Jewelweed-based products can help and are a natural remedy. Another remedy to help you get over the itch is calamine lotion. It will help soothe the itching and redness and dry out the blisters. Other remedies include. Prescription strength hydrocortisone can help dramatically. See your family doctor for your decision. There are more dramatic medications that can be described depending on the severity of your rash, such as Clobex or Prednisone.