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Poison Oak Treatment? Answered

I contracted a case of poison oak about a week ago and it's really got me itching today. I need some relief and I was wondering if the community had any ideas for home remedies and or effective treatments. I've been through the whole course of oral steroids (prednisone), and topical creams (hydrocortisone) with previous outbreaks, but they never seem to work all that well. I'm open to any and all of your suggestions, so let's hear them. Look at the pictures. Feel my itch. Answer my question, and help me return my skin back to its normal, smooth state.


apply paint thinner (or gasoline if very desperate) And wait about 10 minutes and take a cold shower and it should stop itching over night


3 years ago

Wow!!! The baking soda and vinegar worked wonders!!! The itching was relentless! Woke me up, and just kept getting worse, now oozing. Calamine lotion had no affect. Mixed up the paste, got in a hot shower, and rubbed it in with a washcloth. Hurt like hell, but I kept it on as long as I could endure it. Then rinsed with hot water (a doctors recommendation), dabbed on the vinegar afterwards, which felt like fire for a few minutes. But the itching has ceased! And I could feel drying action occurring within about 15 minutes. Not sure if I'll need to reapply, but for now I have relief. Ahhhhh.....

This did not work for me.It made is worse! I just don't think scrubbing a sore is a good idea. I tried it twice. I had a lot of hope but I was in more pain after treatment.

Cool shower and baking soda and vinegar paste followed by more vinegar.

The sores weeped and it felt like my skin was on fire. Still does 30 minutes later.

Just put calamine lotion on to relive the pain. This is my worse case in 10 years.

I am heading to the doctor!

Thanks for the advice but it didn't work for me :(

Okay, I have a substantial case of poison oak. I got it about two weeks ago, and the itching patches are still continue to appear on all four limbs, torso, and now it looks as though I am getting a few bumps on my scalp. Its driving me crazy at night. I have tried calamine, cortisone creme, Tecru, tea tree oil, oral and topical benedryl, and more. Nothing has worked satisfactorily, especially at night when I am trying to sleep. I just thoroughly did the baking soda/vinegar treatment for the first time. I WILL report back soon with the results, so that others might learn from my experience. Thanks to all who have posted!


I drive logging trucks and am always exposed to poison oak from peeling bark off the trees, but just the other day I unfortunately got it. It goes from my stomach down to my junk(it sucks), all these remedies seem like they burn but work. Would anyone think it's worth the pain or just deal with it?

I got it scattered all over my body and have been using Tecnu and Calamine, but my wounds kept weeping and itching, even after 4 days of scrubbing and treating it.

I did the baking soda scrub (with water) on my shoulder before bed as a test and it was dried up in the morning with just a red wound to heal. I've scrubbed the rest of the spots and they've all dried up and stopped itching. Just have wounds left to heal.

Best solution ever!

Great remedy! Baking soda and vinegar are staples in our home. Growing up I come to realize there uses are literally endless. One of my many favorite uses of vinegar is sunburn relief. After showering apply pure white vinegar using a paper towel or cloth. I live in the south and you can bet someone in my house will end up smelling like pickles every summer. Even though prevention is best something always happens.

Hi everyone. I haven't been on this site for some time but felt I could share a proven remedy. I got the same after 40 years of no problems. Mix a small amount of vinegar with enough baking soda to make a paste the consistency of peanut butter. While standing in the shower and out of the water stream, scrub the paste as hard as possible over all blisters. Believe it or not it will feel great. After you finish washing and get out dry gently and apply more vinegar. The sores will heal very quickly.

this works sooooo good, 15 min after applying the paste there was no more itch, burning or draining blisters, I was just about to go to the doc Thanks Alot!

If the alkalinity is what you want from the baking soda, it would be much better to mix it with water, as vinegar is acid, and will neutralize at least some of the baking soda (with dramatic foaming and bubbles).

I've got lots of meds on board for this, including 60mg of prednisone, as it is around my eyes and looks to have gone systemic (appearing bilaterally in crooks of my elbows and behind my knees), but I'd love to get relief from the suppurating blisters ASAP.

I'm going to be using the Baking Soda paste, without vinegar.

Just tried this remedy. I made the vinegar and baking soda paste and scrubbed the the areas. Oh it felt amazing. Cleaned off the paste and threw on some vinegar onto the scrubbed area and man did that sting. I haven't had any itchyness since. There is a little fluid that has come out but for the most part its dry. I'm impressed so far. Ill keep you posted on the results.

TRUST!!!!!this remedy works great,after the little burn from the vineger...awesome relief.this works great and gets rid of the rash fast......thanks alot

I really hope this works!!
this is the fourth time ive gotten poison oak out of stupidity,and hopefully this will kick it out of my body within 3 days.Thanks hope this works!!!

I came across poison oak again this past Friday and oh man, it hurts and started to look and spread all over. I have tried calamine lotion before and it work but it too a while. As soon as I saw your post I went downstairs and mix baking soda with vinegar and applied it as you instructed. It's only been a few minutes since I came out of the shower and I can feel that the rash is healing quick!!! I smell a little funny, but i prefer that over the itchy rash. THANKS so much for the tip.

I have been a long time sufferer of poison oak. We have acreage and the dogs run the property. They of course pass by the poison oak and get it on their fur. then pass the nasty stuff on to me. I have been suffering with another bout of the itchy rash. I have tried all of the remedies. Yes most will slow down the spread and help to releave the itch (oh the itch) but it seems like it takes forever for it to go away and then I get it again. My sister happen to read about the baking soda and vinegar treatment. I thought what the heck, why not, I have tried everything else. So I mixed up a batch of the paste, climbed into the show and scrubbed and scrubbed. Chariotmaker is right, it felt GREAT. OHHHH MY. When I got out I dapped more vinegar on. Holy bejevious that did slightly burn. There were a few weepy spots, thank goodness only a few, because I did what Graywoulf suggested and put a little salt in the wound. This did burn. But it really does work. I woke up this morning and the rash is almost completely gone. Thank you guys so very very much.

Thank you so much for this remedy! I aquired poison oak last week (never had it in my life) and by the time it reached the blister stage a couple of days ago it really freaked me out. Forget about the itch, I had a blister the size of a quarter right in the bottom center of my left foot. This made wearing a shoe impossible and walking (with flip flops) awkward and painful. I just now made the paste, gritted my teeth, and went to work on the "main" blister. This thing was so fat it took considerable strength to burst it. What followed next was brief pain followed by soothing relief as I worked the paste into the wound. I am typing this pain and itch free. The paste works immediately! Thanks again.

I came in contact with poison oak last week and got a severe case of itching and blisters the size of baseballs. After reading the horror stories, I went for the baking soda and vinager routine. I rubbed the paste with a washcloth as hard as I could to brake the blisters. The itching stopped almost immediately, and the healing process started the next day...Go for the vinegar/baking soda paste.

Poison oak goes systemic on me, which means if I get exposed even a little, I start breaking out all over my body because my immune system goes crazy. I have found a three part 'cure' that prevents that from happening if I get to it in time.

First, my doctor told me that the best thing to wash with after being exposed or noticing poison oak is Dawn dish detergent. Very cheap, and it does just what the commercials say- it gets rid of grease, or in this case, the oil. Shower with it. You can use it all over, and it will get rid of any oil you might still have. I also wash all my clothes and anything else that might have been exposed with it. Again, it is cheap and it won't stain or hurt anything, so wash EVERYTHING in it that might have been exposed. (Yes, that con include your dogs. Won't hurt them either.)

Second, take Benadryl or any other strong antihistamine. Most of the blistering and itching is your immune system over reacting to the oils. If you can get your system to not react, it really cuts down on the severity and duration of the rash. For Benadryl, if you don't have to operate heavy machinery, take two and have a nap. (Two wipe me out.) If not, take one, take them as often as the package says, and take two at night when it doesn't matter that it makes you sleepy. Take it for a few days until the rash settles down.

Third is a 1% Hydrocortisone cream, OTC, that you put on every spot that comes up. Reapply any time it starts itching (about every 4-6 hours on me.)

As far as step three, I will try the baking soda and vinegar. I would much rather have a natural remedy if I can. But the Dawn for getting rid of the oils and an antihistamine that will cut down the reaction are lifesavers for me.

This will work very well for poison ivy victims. I encountered PI in the yard of a customer of my lawn care service. Get a large watermelon, preferably about 10 lbs, wash it thoroughly with warm water and dry it off with a clean towel. Then place it into the fridge overnight.

Take it out onto a counter, cut it in half, then a half in half and place the rest back into the fridge, cut the remaining quarter into chunks, and just a little salt on them, and enjoy!

Oh the horrible rash, blisters and itching? Oh it doesn't help that, but the melon is sooooo gooood! I'll be reading the blogs here to see what to do about my PI infection!! lol


5 years ago

A friend who is very sensitive to poison oak that knew someone who did a Ph.D. on poison oak (really!). She was told it is an acid inside the urushiol oil from the poison oak that causes the rash/ allergic reaction. Baking soda neutralizes the acid. My friend carries a rag (actually, a diaper) that is damp from a water/baking soda solution whenever she walks her dog in the woods. She wipes the dog down lightly. My friend is so sensitive, she wears latex gloves in the woods, so that says something about the baking soda treatment. I, myself, just heard about it and will try it (I've been using Technu, which is good but I worry about if its key ingredient is toxic)

If you are tough skinned or just itch so bad you don't care anymore try rinsing first with acetone then using about a palm full of "Sasquatch Itch Cream". It has manzanita bark extract in it that the native californians used (Wintu tribe I think). It stings a little but it's like fighting fire with fire. After about 5 minutes the stinging wears off and then I had about 12 hours of no itching. I had to repeat it at that time but I didn't care so much at that point. It'd rather be in physical pain than itching like this. Those of you that said it worked are right but people need to be prepared for a little discomfort at first. If you don't know about that, the sasquatch cream could freak you out a little.

My husband got poison ivy and was using cortisone cream to dry up the bumps and puss. It wasn't working, so we gave the baking soda mix a try. It's working way better then the cortisone. Unbelievable. Thanks for sharing the home remedy.

Get "Sasquatch Itch Cream" ---It really is a product. No joke. Their motto is funny: Keeps you in the bush and out of the doctor's office.
anyway--it works. I'ts not an ivy block or wash or solvent. It's made for when the rash starts. The maker said to "think of it like a fire extinguisher" . then I added: "When the Sasquatch hits the fan!" He didn't think it was that funny. But it works. no doubt. it works.

This will stop the itch... I guarantee it. In one word... HEAT!!! Applied in any form directly to the affected area will stop the itch for quite a while. I have used these forms of applying heat in about this order. 1. A HAIR DRYER... Start from a safe distance with the medium or high setting and gradually get closer until all of a sudden, the itch goes into overdrive for a second or two then you are done. Some of you will probably laugh or make odd comments about this but I don't care because I and many of my friends know it works. 2. HOT WATER... I just stick my arm or leg or hand (wherever it is) under the faucet with the hot water running cold to hot. Or sometimes if the affected area is large enough, a hotter than usual shower or bath helps. Again, expect the itch to go into overdrive again. It's what I refer to as an "itchgasm". LOL! 3. USE YOU IMAGINATION... Seriously, heat in any form does the trick but be sensible. YOU ARE NOT TRYING TO CAUSE SECOND OR THIRD DEGREE BURNS HERE!! Don't try using the wood stove or a candle or torch or ANY kind of open flame. Hot air or water is the safest method and NO HEAT GUNS EITHER! Use your brain and be safe. This also works with mosquito bites, chigger bites and just about any kind of itch as well. As far as the old school crap about "don't get it wet" goes, if you have poison ivy or oak already then water WILL NOT make it spread!! If the blisters are oozing then apply SALT. Yea, it will burn a tiny bit but it dries up the blister and speeds up the healing. Chemicals like alcohol, acetone, lacquer thinner and such will just irritate the skin worse and cause infections... and worse as mentioned elsewhere. Now go get your hair dryer and get some relief! Graywoulf

I've been doing this all my life but you're the only other person who's ever mentioned it. The "itchgasm" remedy always made me wonder why it works. The rash seems to start itching at a certain temperature, then, as you said, it goes into overdrive and there's a struggle for usage of the nerve, and then the irritant seems to break down. The explanation lies I think in the very nature of our sensations.

It always seemed to me that it was the lymph fluid released by scratching that spread the irritant; that's why hot water is my choice of treatment.

If its hot out go to large scale water park, parks of this nature keep water/chlorine mixtures at the highest legally allowable, this will dry out rash in one day. If it is cold out go to nice hotel with hot tub/spa soak for as long as you can stand then quickly rinse with cold water. Caution hot tube with no chlorine will cause spreading of oil. You can avoid bad rashes by drinking goat milk from goats whom have consumed poison oak.

I feel great empathy for anyone with poison oak/ivy/sumac rash. Here's my story, complete with gross details and (eventual) remedies.

Ok ... if you feel that you have gotten yourself in poison ivy or anything like that. you should find some mud and rub it on the infected area.. let it dry and walla its gone... I kid you not... Im an outdoors person.. and trust me it works.. the nettles will pierce your skin and start letting the oil go in.. it takes a few hours for you to actually get poison ivy or such anyway.. the mud will dry and pull the nettles out as it drys and there will be no time for the oil from the plant to set there and irritate the skin... Try it the next time you run into poison ivy or sumack or poison oak.... this really works its no joke.. this must be done as soon as you feel you have been infected....


8 years ago

Benadryl or something like that

Tried the baking soda and vinegar paste -- very, very good!

Just thought I'd add this to the discussion:  As someone who used to drink way too much coffee and not get enough sleep (and still has a sleep problem) and someone, who unfortunately has gotten poison oak frequently (since it grows behind my house), I have this common sense observation:

Getting a good amount of sleep really calms down the rash quite a bit!  Let your body be at full strength when fighting poison oak.

So, i have had poison oak for almost a week now, it covers my ENTIRE body.... to all the people who post, wash it off... well we already realize that we have it thanks! so please dont comment and say this. I've been looking at every single site on google to find a cure... and nothing has worked. ive taken oatmeal baths, salt baths, ive even put lemon juice on my skin... please do not do the salt or lemon juice... it just burns, no help. There is a wash called "poison ivy cleansing scrub" from cvs... get the generic brand because its cheaper and works the same... scrub it on your skin in the shower. DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT TAKE HOT SHOWERS!!!!! Take it from someone who knows. It is literally everywhere because it spread with the hot shower, when you take a hot shower it loosens the Urushiol (causes the itch) and it will spread... then there is also this stuff called Calagel, it really takes makes the itch go away following the "poison ivy cleansing scrub"... if you dont want to use topical gels... then you can take benadryl combined with zyrtec or clairitian, it helps so much... but it will make you really sleepy. Also If you plan on using Tecnu, use degreaser, its the same thing... but it should be used in an earlier stage. Sorry this is so long, but i really dont want people to go through all the mess and money ive gone through. BUT! there is really no cure... just little things like these to help. Mine still hasnt fully gone away... REMEMBER NO HOT SHOWERS, WASH EVERYTHING YOU COME IN CONTACT WITH, AND DO NOT REWEAR CLOTHING!!!!! I hope this has helped a little bit. :)

If you suspect you have been exposed ,immediately wash the area with Sunlight laundry bar soap-4th generation family cure. It works. Use for poison ivy too.

if you have just noticed you have come in contact with poison oak or ivy, a fast remedy is to find the plant named jewelweed or touch-me-not and rub it on. look it up, its pretty common. It's also the main ingredient in calamine lotion.

i have had poison oak 13 times and am extremely allergic to it. if you can get a prescription steriod cream it works great but if you don't want to go to the doc lots and lots of calomine lotion does the job.

Lol, I never get blisters from poison ivy or poison oak. I don't know why I just don't. The worst case of poison ivy or poison oak that I have gotten was a slight itching and that was it.

Oh, and stinging nettle doesnt effect me either =D

I heard that rubbing honey on it will help remove it.

I just contracted a nice case of poison oak on my lower legs. I am quite allergic to it and in the past would go to my doctor, who prescribed a powerful steroid that cleared up the rash, the oozing and the itch withing 48 hours. This time, I have no insurance, so I scoured the internet and came up with two treatments that work for me. Everyone's skin and immune system is different, so take it for what it's worth. I used Tea Tree oil for the first five days after the poison oak rash appeared. It did help with the itching and dried out the blisters but it seemed to be spreading the rash. I then purchased a bottle of Tecnu, a rub-and-rinse over the counter product. I did as instructed, rubbed the stuff on the poison oak areas three hours ago and am now typing this with zero itching already and a reduction in the blisters. I'll keep it up until the devil rash goes away. As I said, everyone's skin is different, but this worked for me. Cost $14.00 for a 12oz. bottle. Check it out.

Those pics look delicous

I've always heard oatmeal will do the trick. Not maple brown sugar or apple cinnamon, just plain ol'oatmeal.

I get poison ivy so easily - even on a riding mower. I would even get it from the family dog and off my husband's clothes (he's a carpenter). For years I took 3 to 4 prescriptions of perdisone during the season. I knew this wasn't good for me. So I went to a naturalpath and he prescribed BPX a herbal remedy made by Nature Sunshine. (3 pills 3 times a day for about 3 days and then start decreasing) If I had it really bad he had me take Amalayse too also by Nature Sunshine. 2 pills 2 times a a day for about 3 days and then start decreasing) It was like the decreasing dosage of perdisone. It still took about a week to get relief, but at least I wasn't taking perdisone. For the itching, I used mostly OTC anti itch ointments, kept my self busy and tried not to to scratch. Lotsa luck - I've been there and am still there at age 68.

chariotmaker: From the MSDS sheet on lacquer thinner: "Skin: One or more components of this material is a skin irritant. Direct contact with this material may cause redness, burning and skin damage. Contact may result in skin absorption but symptoms of toxicity are not anticipated by this route alone under normal conditions of use. Persons with preexisting skin disorders may be more susceptible to the effects of this material." A 15 or 20 second exposure on your skin will not "stay in you liver forever." I am not saying that this will cure everyone's rash, I only know it worked miracles for me.


9 years ago

This is only a 'prevention' tip: after any time of potential contact (like working in the woods around my home) I always swab exposed skin areas - arms, hands, my bald head, etc. -with 90% rubbing alcohol, to cut the urushiol. Then just do soap & water, and wash clothes. (Also do a quick alcohol wipe down of shoes that can't be washed.) This has worked so well for me that I have become more bold about going into the woods and clearing poison ivy/oak, haven't had problems since starting this practice. This will NOT cure a skin reaction that is already underway. Many other interesting ideas here for cures.


9 years ago

Burow's solution is a pharmacological preparation made of aluminium acetate dissolved in water. It was invented in the mid-1800s by Karl August Burow, an ophthalmologist. The preparation has astringent and antibacterial properties and is used to treat a number of skin conditions such as insect bites, rashes caused by poison ivy and poison sumac, swelling, allergies and bruises. Burow's solution is traditionally applied in cold compresses over the affected area. In otology, it is applied as ear drops of a 13% solution. Burow's solution is available over the counter as a generic preparation. Bayer also manufactures a modified form of the preparation under the commercial name Domeboro. Aluminium acetate From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Aluminium acetates are the aluminium salts of acetic acid. Three such salts exist: neutral Aluminium triacetate, Al(C2H3O2)3 basic Aluminium diacetate, HOAl(C2H3O2)2 basic Aluminium monoacetate, (HO)2AlC2H3O2 Synthesis The triacetate forms when aluminium sulfate is mixed with barium acetate. Another synthetic method is by bringing together aluminium hydroxide, acetic anhydride and glacial acetic acid in water, forming the basic aluminium monoacetate The diacetate is prepared in a reaction of NaAlO2 with acetic acid.

This may sound wierd, even dangerous but it worked for me. Really! I had a very bad case of Poison Oak a few years ago and NOTHING gave me relief. Until a co-worker in the factory where I worked convinced me to pour lacquer thinner right over it. Don't pat it or rub it, just pour it over. Lacquer thinner evaporates fast and you aren't getting any INSIDE of your body but, by drying so fast, (10 - 15 seconds) it will dry the ooze and not burn or sting at all. I did this three times that day and by the time I went home, the area was dry and whiteish. the next day the Poison Oak was Gone!!!! Remember, though...DO NOT RUB IT IN! Just pour it over the area and let it hit the floor (outside, in garage, etc.) If you choose not to do this for fear I am some sort of creep trying to hurt you, I understand. I thought the same of the guy that told me!