Have you had Poison Ivy before? Ever wonder how it works, why does it keep coming back, and is there any relief from the horrible itch?! Here is a complete guide to help answer these questions for you!
Poison Ivy… the shear thought of it just makes my skin itch!
If you have ever had Poison Ivy, than you know what I am talking about… but if you haven’t, it is almost impossible to imagine — So please, consider yourself lucky! 🙂
Unfortunately, Poison Ivy grows just about anywhere, and can actually come in many different shapes, sizes, and forms… sometimes making it easily mistaken as something else…
It also looks different throughout each of the 4 seasons, whether it be a 3-leafed plant, a leafy vine, an empty vine, a plant or vine with or without berries, or colored red, brown, green, shiny, not shiny, jagged leaves, or smooth leaves….
So confusing right?!
The best way to deal with Poison Ivy is to be aware of what it is and where it grows — and STAY AWAY!
Poison ivy is so EVIL!
I remember getting poison ivy when I was a child, and it was so horrible, but it wasn’t until my adult life now, that I have become severely allergic to it and now have systematic reactions lasting for months… Absolutely terrible!
Poison Ivy is so potent, that believe it or not, there are more ways to catch it than just one…
If you do notice that you have come in to contact with the plant right away, try washing your hands immediately. Use lots of soap and scrub for at least 5 minutes. Also be sure to scrub down anything that you may have touched on your way to the sink… The faucet taps, the door knob, etc.
NOT SURE OF HOW TO IDENTIFY POISON IVY?! MY FRIEND COURTENAY FROM OVER AT THE CREEK LINE HOUSE HAS A REALLY GREAT GUIDE TO HELP YOU!
DIFFERENT WAYS TO CATCH POISON IVY:
- The most obvious way, touching the plant itself. Whether you touch a leaf, vine, or berry, you are most likely going to contract poison ivy.
- If you are digging in the dirt, you can also catch poison ivy from the root system growing under the ground. Trust me, I learned this one the hard way!
- On a hot and muggy day, poison ivy can also travel through the air… Pretty scary and strong stuff, right?!
- Burning poison ivy is also a really nasty way to contract it… The smoke and fumes can actually cause an allergic reaction within the lungs and throat, causing a dire respiratory emergency!
HOW DOES POISON IVY WORK, AND WHAT MAKES IT SO POTENT?
The actual organic substance that causes the allergic reaction among more than half of the human population is known as Urushiol, (pronounced Yoo-roo-she-all).
Urushiol is such an extremely determined and evil substance, it can remain on an object once it has been touched, for years later!
This makes it important to wash any tools, clothes and body parts vigorously with an oil-deterring detergent (like dish-soap or shampoo), that have come into contact with the substance. And washing only once may not cut it…
Studies have shown that Urushiol is such a strong oil, that it may take up to 10 washes or more to fully remove it from your body!
Another thing to keep in mind is that Urushiol can be contracted through your pets as well! Eeek!
POISON IVY CONTROVERSY:
Throughout my research to find that instant Poison Ivy relief, it has become quite apparent that Poison Ivy is still to this day a controversial topic….
Is it contagious to others? Can it still spread among your own body? Can it travel through your blood system?
Unfortunately I cannot answer these questions 100% accurately, but I can give a detailed account of my own personal experience…
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH POISON IVY:
Studies say that once the Urushiol has been properly removed from your body that the Poison Ivy is no longer contagious to yourself or others…. However, while I find the first to be false, I find the later to be true.
In my experience, poison ivy has not spread to any others (friends nor family) that I have been among (thank goodness!!!), but it has continued to spread all over my body long after contracting it…
POISON IVY CONCLUSIONS – FACT OR MYTH?
Some medical professionals will argue that I am still somehow coming into contact with the Urushiol through clothes or tools, etc… Although I am confident that this is NOT the case!
Other medical professionals believe that poison ivy can travel through your bloodstream… This has been my proved fact in my opinion, through my own personal allergic reactions.
There is also part of the population that will argue that if poison ivy has previously been in your system, it will reoccur in these areas whether or not they have been in direct contact with the Urushiol once again.
IS THERE ANY RELIEF FROM POISON IVY ITCH?
If you do your research, you will mind that there are many different methods to try to relieve the horrible itch… Some may work for you, and some may not. Some I would recommend trying, and others, I definitely would not!
Below you will find a list of each method tried, an opinion on whether or not I would recommend the method, and an actual rating for itch relief on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most relief.
NOTE: Please remember that I am not a doctor, and the below is based off of my opinions and experiences, and shall not replace the advice of your professional medical provider.
A LIST OF POISON IVY RELIEF METHODS – TRIED & TESTED:
1. Get to the Dr.’s IMMEDIATELY and get your hands on either some prednisone pills or cortisone cream! DO NOT WAIT! GO! These two things have been known to stop Poison Ivy in it’s tracks. – Recommended – Unrated.
2. Take an Antihistamine (such as Benadryl). Recommended – Unrated.
3. Take a Histamine Blocker (such as Zantac). Recommended – Unrated.
4. Calamine Lotion – Recommended – When it comes to Poison Ivy, Calamine Lotion is the automatic go-to… but does it actually work?
Not really… I give it a relief rating of about 3.5 when you are applying the lotion, and as soon as it dries, you are left with dry, scaling, just as itchy skin. However, it does help dry the rash out.
5. Vinegar – Recommended – Try pouring vinegar (regular or apple) onto the affected area and let it air-dry.
This method scores about a 4 on the relief scale…. being that it will take the itch out and replace it with a temporary sting for about 5 minutes. This method kind of works, but who has time to stand there and pour vinegar on their self all day??!
6. Baking Soda – Recommended – Mix baking soda with water to create a paste and apply to the affected area.
With a relief rating of 6, this can be considered one of the better methods, however it is extremely messy! And as soon as the paste dries, it starts crumbling off, and the temporary relief ceases.
7. Bleach, Javax or Rubbing Alcohol – NOT Recommended! – The theory behind this method is that it will get rid of any Urushiol left on your skin and stop the spread…
However, not only does it NOT WORK, it is also EXTREMELY BAD FOR YOUR SKIN!
And yes, as desperate as I am, I did try it – several times :s and it did not work… the Poison Ivy still continued to spread.
8. Oatmeal or Milk Bath – Recommended – Soaking in either an oatmeal or milk bath can definitely bring temporary relief to the terrible suffering of one covered in Poison Ivy.
I give either of these two methods a relief rating of 6, due to the fact that they are soothing and calming to your skin, but once again, only temporary. (If you are thinking of trying this method, try my DIY Cinnamon-Vanilla Milk Bath!)
9. The Volcano Method – Recommended – Remember when you were in grade-school, and you did the ultimate mother of all science projects — the Erupting Volcano!?
Well, I decided to mix methods 2 & 3 together, with a little water… and this is what I came up with: In a big tub, sink, or bowl, fill with cold water, add 1/6 proportion of vinegar, and sprinkle in a couple of tablespoons of baking soda.
While soaking the affected area, the fizzing bubbles feel SO good! And even after patting dry, I experienced Poison Ivy Relief anywhere from 1/2 and hour to two full hours! This method gets a two-thumbs-up 8!
10. A535 Ice Gel – Recommended – A thought that came to mind was: Is it possible to numb this unbelievable, indescribable itch?! And the answer is YES!
A535 Ice Gel will give you temporary relief, for almost 20 minutes, to half an hour! Small peas, right? — Well not really… when you are suffering from Poison Ivy, just 5 minutes of temporary relief can be HUGE! So for this reason, A535 Ice Gel also gets a rating of 8.
I hope that at least one of these methods brings some kind of relief to you! And if you have any suggestions or methods yourself, I would love to hear them!
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