Introduction: Poison Ivy
The danger when you explore the
great outdoors does not always come in the form of some wild animal like a bear or a cougar. Sometimes it comes in the form of a seemingly harmless plant. Poison oaks, poison wood, and poison sumac are some examples of plants you can encounter while out exploring and it is best that you know how to get rid of poison ivy and other plants related to it.
What is Poison Ivy?
Poison ivy is part of a family of poisonous plants that is evenly distributed across the Northern Hemisphere. Its general appearance is highly variable as it can appear to be a bush, a vine or a smattering of leaves lying on the ground. The most important tip in identifying a poison ivy is the glaring warning signs usually placed around it. On a serious note though, one of the most credible ways of identifying poison ivy is by looking at its leaf structure. Poison ivy leaves are arranged alternately and are usually grouped by threes; different varieties can have their leaves either smooth or toothed.
How Does It Affect You?
A phenolic substance called urushoil is found in the entirety of the plant and is the main cause of irritation. Injuries usually would take the form of rashes and severe itching leading to dermatitis. Animals can also bring in oils from the poison ivy family into your home.
Poison Ivy Home Remedies
Fortunately enough, poison ivy irritation is often non-lethal and several cures can be found around the house. You can definitely bring these along the next time you go out so you can address the injuries quicker.
Washing with soap and water washes off the irritants from the poison ivy plant and this is an effective way of cooling down the affected area, lessening the rashes. However, in order for this to work, the affected part should be washed within 15 minutes after contact with the poison plant otherwise, the urushoil will have been absorbed by the body and would require proper medical attention.
Rubbing Alcohol - Just like water, alcohol removes traces of the phenolic substance from your skin and its antibacterial properties also ensure that infection is prevented. Unlike water, rubbing alcohol should immediately be rinsed off.
Calamine lotion is not only effective against insect bites, it can also be applied to relieve the itching, dry up and blister and sooth the affected skin, all at the same time.
Vinegar - white vinegar can be used to dry up the blisters and soothe the itching. Use a half cup of the liquid, add some water and refrigerator; this treatment is best served cold.
Cucumber - cut up some cucumber slices and place them over the affected area, you can also mash the cucumber up and make it into a paste that you can spread over the injury. Cucumber can help cool off the rash and prevent itching.
Whole Milk - Soak some whole milk in a rag and gently pat over the affected area. Leave the damp rag on for about 10-15 minutes before rinsing it.
Herbs - Herbs like Jewelweed works wonders when applied to poison oak infections. The watery stem cools down the area and helps soothe the rash. Aloe Vera works the same way as well.
Salty Water - Remember being told to pee on a jellyfish wound, this is the same thing. Salty water can dry up the affected area while washing it at the same time.
Apple Cider - Apple cider already has several medicinal therapeutic claims and it is considered to be a natural remedy against rashes and irritation.
Oatmeal - grind a cup of oatmeal in a blender until it becomes fine. Place the powder in a cheesecloth or clean sock and then tie it on the open end of a faucet before turning it on. The water pressure will force the essences out and you can soak the affected area in the resulting mixture.
Steroids - As a back-up, stock up on hydrocortisone and use it only when the other home remedied listed does not seem to work for the patient.
You must pull out the poison ivy plant carefully using protective gear but you should not burn any of it as it can also cause irritation on your eyes and lungs. It’s a pretty tenacious plant and does not really go away even after you’ve cleared an area. It will spring up again in another location and knowing how to treat poison ivy is the next best step in preventing any further injury.