Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — composed by Rebecca Morris — to update on march 7, 2019

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You are watching: How to reduce swelling from poison ivy


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It beginning innocently enough. Friend chop down a scraggly shrub when trimming your lawn. Then, your arms and legs start tingling and turn red. Prior to you recognize it, there’s an itchy rash. Lot too late you realize that shrub was in reality poison ivy.

Finding toxicity ivy is straightforward in the joined States, wherein it grow virtually almost everywhere except because that Alaska, Hawaii, and some desert locations of the Southwest. It additionally grows in components of Canada, Mexico, and Asia.

It’s easy to recognize by its swarm of 3 pointed leaves. In the spring, the leaves can have a red tint. Castle turn eco-friendly in summer and also various shades that red, yellow, or orange in the fall.


just how it spreads

Poison ivy produce an oil called urushiol that causes a decision in about 85 percent of civilization who come in contact with it, notes the American Academy the Dermatology.

The rashes isn’t transmittable to others. This is due to the fact that it’s a skin reaction come the oil. However, the oil itself can spread come others.

Urushiol is tenacious. It’ll rod to nearly anything: your clothes and shoes, camping and gardening equipment, also your pets’ or horses’ coats.

It can transfer to and from your hands to your cell call or any object girlfriend touch and spread come others. And it’s in essentially every part of the plant: leaves, stems, even the roots. Brushing against a winter-bared vine deserve to still reason the rash.

Read on because that some methods to prevent gaining a toxicity ivy rash.


1. Dress for success

If you recognize you’re heading into a poison ivy stronghold, prepare by extending as much of your skin together possible. Good frontline defenses include:

long-sleeved shirtspants, which can be tucked into socks if neededhatsheavy-duty rubber glovessocksclosed-toe shoes
2. Lather, rinse, repeat

Rinsing her skin with lukewarm, soapy water or rubbing alcohol within about an hour of touching poison ivy deserve to remove the urushiol and help you prevent a decision — or at least make it less severe.

You’ll additionally need to to wash anything else that’s come into call with the plant. Urushiol have the right to remain potent because that years. Omitted the cleanup could lead to one more rash later.

Some world swear that dishwashing fluid can help wash the oil from your skin. Various other specialty washes include products by brands such together Burt’s Bees, Ivarest, and Tecnu.


3. Block the oil

If a precautionary measure is what you’re after, over-the-counter (OTC) cream can delay urushiol from penetrating the skin. Friend can obtain IvyX and other barrier creams indigenous your local drugstore or online.

The cream demands to be thickly applied all over your skin much less than an hour prior to you suppose to be exposed to a toxicity ivy plant. If you’re exposed, you need to wash every the cream turn off within 4 hours that the exposure to keep your skin from absorbing the urushiol.


4. Wash, rinse, soak

If girlfriend do build a poison ivy rash, expect it to take it one to three weeks to clear up. To wash well with soap and lukewarm water come get any type of residual oil turn off the skin as soon as friend can.

Once the rashes develops, water deserve to be reassuring and help ease itching and also burning. Soaking in cool-water baths comprise an oatmeal-based product such as one by Aveeno should provide relief, follow to the mei Clinic.

Also, place a cool, wet compress top top the rash for 15 come 30 minutes numerous times a day need to help.


5. Cortisone and also calamine

OTC cortisone creams and also calamine odor can assist ease few of the itchiness that a toxicity ivy rash. Follow the brand directions as soon as applying. Make sure to wash and dry the area before reapplying.

Other products that may aid with itching include:

a 3-to-1 proportion of baking soda to water paste applied to the skin cucumber slices inserted on the rash

You can likewise mash up cucumber right into a paste and also apply come the rash come soothe your skin.


6. Shot oral antihistamines

OTC antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin) and also diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can aid ease her itching and inflammation, too. Benadryl has the included benefit of make some people sleepy. This could help boost her comfort in ~ bedtime.

There are plenty of other OTC antihistamines. Talk to her pharmacist because that advice top top choices.

Don’t use an antihistamine cream to her rash, though. It deserve to actually do the itching worse.

Applying rubbing alcohol to a decision can aid dry it up and prevent infection. Some other house remedies the act together astringents and also can dry up a toxicity ivy rash include:

witch hazelapple cider vinegara paste of baking soda and also water
7. Speak to the professionals

If her rash is widespread, top top your confront or genitals, or has actually caused several blisters, speak to your doctor. They’ll be able to prescribe a steroid, such together prednisone, to help ease the itching and inflammation.

Depending on your condition and your doctor’s preference, you may be given steroid pills, a shot, or topical preparations such together gels, ointments, or creams.

See more: How To Tell Your Wife To Lose Weight ? How To Tell Your Wife She Needs To Lose Weight

Sometimes if you scratch your skin or her blisters rest open, you can construct a bacter infection. Your physician can provide you a prescription antibiotic if that happens. The prescription might be for pills, a cream, or both.


8. Head for help

If you have any type of of the following symptoms, head come the emergency room or urgent treatment center:


critical medically reviewed on July 9, 2018


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Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — composed by Rebecca Morris — to update on march 7, 2019

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