Although time is the only fully effective method to completely rid yourself of the poison ivy rash, there are a number of ways soothe the itch of poison ivy while your body heals itself. Between home remedies that have been passed down from generation to generation – some more effective than others – and new products on the market, you should be able to find relief that works best for you and your wallet.
Use products you already have around the house or yard to make your own effective remedies. If you are looking for natural remedies for poison ivy or are trying to save some money, these are the ones for you.
- Jewel weed: this plant grows wild on the edge of fields or in the brushy undergrowth of forests where there is plenty of water, mainly on the east coast. Snap open the hollow stem and place directly on your skin, and it will begin to soothe the itching immediately. For more effective treatment, plan ahead and make a pot of jewel weed tea (put stems and leaves in a pot of water and boil it down). Freeze the tea in ice-cube trays to have on hand when needed.
- Oatmeal: Grind up oatmeal (unflavored, please!) in a blender, coffee grinder, or food processor until you have a nice powder. Sprinkle about a cup of the powder into a warm bath, and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. The oatmeal will help dry the blisters out, and soothe the skin at the same time. No time for a bath? Try making a think paste and spreading it directly on the rash. Long cooking or rolled oats should both work equally well.
Over the Counter
- Calamine lotion: The cliche of the poison ivy remedies, calamine lotion is a staple in many hikers’ and campers’ medical kits. This pink liquid contains zinc and iron oxides to help dry out the rash blisters.
- It is relatively cheap, and can be found in virtually every drug store – and it works. This may not be the most effective treatment, but it does provide relief. However, you will be pink.
- Hydrocortisones: For a mild rash or itching of many kinds, a cream containing hydrocortisones (i.e. cortisol) can be effective. The most well known is the brand-named Cortizone, although you can find many generic versions that will save you money. These work by fighting the allergic reaction of your body to the urushiol oil from the poison ivy. In extreme cases, cortisol may be injected to fight systemic allergic reactions. This should not be used on children.
- Zanfel: This somewhat expensive soap-rub purports to draw the urushiol out of your skin and instantly soothe the itching. It contains an abrasive that certainly feels good while applying, and many report that it does indeed stop the rash from getting worse drastically reduces the itchy feeling. This can run up to $40 for a small tube good for 10-15 smallish applications.