Tips and Home Remedies for Treating Poison Ivy, Rash, Blisters and Itching


Poison Ivy 

As your fingers pluck the weeds between lengthening squash vines and ripening tomatoes, don’t forget to keep both eyes open for the ones that fight back. Poison ivy, oak and sumac are more likely to be tangled up in dense undergrowth; however, they still manage to appear where you least expect.

You can identify the poison ivy family by its shiny leaves in clusters of three, but don’t forget you can also contract an itchy rash from touching the roots, stems, flowers or berries. This reaction is known as contact dermatitis caused by contact with the irritant urushiol, resin found in poison ivy plants. When transferred to your body, urushiol bonds with the lipids in your skin. If not diluted with cold water immediately or wicked away with rubbing alcohol, an allergic reaction will follow, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, that will make your skin a war zone.

If you find yourself among the unlucky, nurse your rash with home-grown and store-bought antidotes, but remember time and patience are the only cure as you wait for the blisters and bumps to run their course (anywhere from two to four weeks). To reduce itching and spreading try some of the following:

DIY Remedies 

In The Itch and You (May/June 1989), MOTHER EARTH NEWS writer Terry Krautwurst suggests some remedies from home.

6/22/2016 9:02:32 AM

Good morning everyone!!!! I know for fact the cheapest and easiest way to get rid of Poison Ivy or Oak!!!! It's kind of disgusting but it works within minutes!!! So here's what you have to do.... Pee (urinate) in a bottle and pour it on!!!! If your urine does not work try the opposite sex's urine. It will be GONE IN MINUTES!!!! I PROMISE!!!! For really bad dose of poisoning soak a cloth or as many as needed to cover the area and leave it one for a bit (after you've already poured it on every inch!!!) The burning, itching, hive like blooms will vanish within mins and within a half one will even be able to tell as the area will look and feel completely normal!!! Best wishes to all!!!! Tracy A.K.A (Turtle)🐢

6/22/2016 8:54:58 AM

Not only can you get it from the roots, leaves, stems, etc., you can get it from the smoke of burning them. I have heard of people who got it in their lungs, just unimaginable. This can easily happen from burning firewood that has an innocuous looking vine attached to the bark, and standing in or breathing in the smoke. Skip those pieces. If it's Virginia creeper, you are fine, if it's poison ivy, it's really dangerous. If you can't identify it, don't burn it. And stay out of any smoke.

5/11/2013 6:08:15 PM

Washing the affected area really well with dawn hand dishwashing soap and cold water works well for me -- though the sooner after being exposed to the urushiol oil, the better. The cold water prevents the oil from being absorbed deeper and the liquid dishwashing soap seems to draw out all of the urushiol oil. (I got the idea from watching wildlife rescuers clean oil-drenched ducks after the gulf oil spill.)

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters