Poison Ivy Cures Help InformationPoison Ivy, along with poison oak and poison sumac, cause up to 50 million cases of illness in the United States alone. All three plants have urushiol oil, which causes the human body to create rashes and blisters. Most people will react to the tiny amount of 50ug of oil, so even the tiniest speck can cause blisters.
I only rarely got poison ivy before the past few years. Maybe my younger body was more immune? I certainly have been camping quite a bit throughout my lifetime. Intriguingly, it appears that the more you get poison ivy, the worse you react to it, which hardly seems fair. I would think your body would get used to it.
Whatever the reason, from 2007 on I have had three major cases of poison ivy despite my best efforts to avoid the three-leaved plant. As a consequence, I have done a lot of research on poison ivy in these past years. Here are my notes, to help you avoid the rashes in the first place and to get rid of them once you get them!
Basics of Poison Ivy and Urushiol Oil
Poison Ivy, plus poison oak and poison sumac, are just regular plants. Poison ivy is in fact a member of the cashew family!
How Poison Ivy Rashes Form
Unfortunately, the urushiol really isn't dangerous but what happens in your body causes an all-out body warfare attack which is nasty.
Removing the Poison Ivy Urushiol Oil
Your #1 priority if you ever even think you were touched by poison ivy is to remove all traces of urushiol oil from your skin, and get it off of anything clothing, shoes, pets, tents, etc.
Myths about Poison Ivy Rashes
There are old wives tales out there saying that everything from bleach to oatmeal, nail polish to Vitamin C, can be a cure for poison ivy. Some do make it better - and some make the situation far worse.
Cures for Poison Ivy Rashes
There are in fact many things you can do to make the situation better. Here are a collection of cures to help you get through your rash.
Poison Ivy and Hot Showers
Taking a hot shower while having poison ivy deserves its own page since there is controversy about this.
Photos of Poison Ivy Rashes - 2007
My stomach was coated in poison ivy in 2007. Get an idea of what the rashes look like, and how long it takes for them to heal.
Photos of Poison Ivy Arm Rash - 2010
In 2010 my arm got a gentle dose of poison ivy. Much less agony than the stomach incident, but still not fun.
Photos of Poison Ivy Rash - 2011
I thought I'd never get poison ivy as fully as I did in 2007. I was wrong. In 2011 I had my entire face swollen, both wrists, and rash spots everywhere else on my body. It's all my boyfriend's fault :)
Photos of Poison Ivy Rash - 2013
You'd think I'd know better by now. But in 2013 I was so excited when the warm weather came around that I went out gardening on April 8th and 9th with just my yoga top on. No gloves, no long sleeves. By the end of the 9th I was starting to see little spots, and I knew I was in for trouble. My right arm got the worst of it, and was quite swollen, but I also had it on my left arm, stomach, and leg.
Of course, if you have a severe reaction, always call a hospital first! Some people are very sensitive to poison ivy and can have life threatening results. If you sense that things are beyond the 'minor rash' stage, it's always best to call a doctor. Your doctor will know for sure how to handle the rash in your specific situation.
Note that in general pets can't get infected, they are immune to the oil. However, their fur or hair can easily contain oil on it, to keep re-contaminating you. Wash them!
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