What to do about Poison Ivy

A Smithtown Mom asked:  “Anybody have any poison ivy remedies?”

  • My MIL uses Dawn soap (blue original) to cut the oil from the rash- she says it helps dry it out and keeps it from spreading. We also have aveeno oatmeal bath and aveeno calamine (dries clear).
  • So sorry to hear someone has Ivy!! This product may not help, depending when they were exposed but I use this every time I garden. It says you can use to “stop irritant from spreading”. I’ve had Cortizone shots and that helped too. GOOD LUCK!  (see photo below)
  • Yes, buy Tecnu from Waldgreens or CVS. They sell a soap that cleans the oils and a spray to control the itch. Tecnu works great. It’s a bit pricey, but worth it.
  • I never used it on a active rash. But it should be in every persons medicine cabinet and used “just in case”. If rash isn’t too bad you might have success with keeping calamine on it. Walgreens probably has other good products too. I’ve had it so many times, I feel your itch!
  • Mineral spirits, which is what is in that Tecnu product and most people have it in their home already. My husband uses it every time he gets poison ivy and dries it up pretty fast.
  • I am very allergic and the Tecnu works for me. Also Dial antiseptic soap
  • Ivy Dry is good also
  • Stat health: prednisone.
  • Technu and cortisone shot.
  • …. And don’t scratch it!!!! Lol
  • To help dry it up quicker, dap Maalox on with a cotton ball.
  • My oldest had poison ivy had to go to Stat Health nothing over the counter worked..now you can give drink instead of taking the shot just as effective you choose and he’s on predisone but it’s so much better I never have luck with any over the counter remedies..
  • Topical Benadryl and ice packs help
  • My husband uses Zanfel. It is over the counter and expensive. He gets it all the time.
  • oatmeal soap bath, Alveeno bath and cream, benadryl topical and if necessary oral. Seek medical doc if these do not work.
  • I give my son and husband claratin along with the perscription meds.
  • Zanfel is an Amazing miracle cream! They sell it at CVS and Walgreens it’s pricey but worth every $$$
  • If the oils from the plant have been washed away then it shouldn’t spread. If it’s all over then he should have been given corticosteroids, possibly both oral and topical. My husband is highly allergic and he has to get a steroid shot for it to go away.
  • My husband gets it bad. He needs a shot of steroid to calm it, then a drinkable type of steroid to get rid of it fully. He goes to the walkin. Poor kid!
  • 110 pharmacy and surgical sells New York State poison ivy lotion- used it a few years ago. Call ahead.
  • My daughter read in school that mustard helps poison ivy. Sounds weird but apparently it has so many uses that a whole children’s school packet was created by some publisher.
  • Tecnu. Do not use caladryl and benedry together. Tecnu dries the oil. If she had RX most likely prednisone.
  • Another vote for zanfel….it is truly amazing!
  • Take him to a walk in clinic
  • It was prob a steroid cream from the dr. I would call the dr & see if they can give you more or any other options. Tecnu is great if the oils are still on the skin but not sure what it does a week later.
  • Calls pages Pham on lake ave. they are very helpful 584 6460
  • Wash everything he may have touched! Including shoes! My daughter has had it for a week and a half! Wound up going to dr. All I was given was prescription Westcort to apply 4x day! Hers blistered terribly! I did but the technu spray to relive the itch inbetween Westcort. Just have to ride it out! If it’s really bad they can give him a steroid shot! My daughter had double ear infection at same time so they opted not to Give her shot as the roids would lower her immunity and make her infection worse or not get better! Good luck! Hope he’s better soon!
  • I just went to start health and got the meds…people suggested technu being really good
  • My daughter just got over poison oak or sumac (don’t know which). After a week of spreading, the d gave her oral steroids cause he didn’t think the cream was enough.


From the American Academy of Dermatology website:

A rash from poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac is caused by an oil found in these plants called urushiol (you-ROO-shee-all). When this oil touches your skin, it often causes an itchy, blistering rash.

Most people can safely treat the rash at home. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, go to the emergency room right away.

If you have any of the following, go to the emergency room right away:


  • You have trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • The rash covers most of your body.
  • You have many rashes or blisters.
  • You experience swelling, especially if an eyelid swells shut.
  • The rash develops anywhere on your face or genitals.
  • Much of your skin itches, or nothing seems to ease the itch.

If you do not have the above symptoms, the rash appears on a small section of your skin, and you are absolutely certain that your rash is due to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, you may be able to treat the rash at home.

To treat a rash from poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac and help stop the itch, dermatologists recommend the following:

  1. Immediately rinse your skin with lukewarm, soapy water. If you can rinse your skin immediately after touching poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, you may be able to rinse off some of the oil. If not washed off, the oil can spread from person to person and to other areas of your body.
  2. Wash your clothing. Thoroughly wash all of the clothes you were wearing when you came into contact with the poisonous plant. The oil can stick to clothing, and if it touches your skin, it can cause another rash.
  3. Wash everything that may have the oil on its surface. Besides clothing, the oil from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can stick to many surfaces, including gardening tools, golf clubs, leashes and even a pet’s fur. Be sure to rinse your pet’s fur, and wash tools and other objects with warm, soapy water.
  4. Do not scratch, as scratching can cause an infection.
  5. Leave blisters alone. If blisters open, do not remove the overlying skin, as the skin can protect the raw wound underneath and prevent infection.
  6. Take short, lukewarm baths. To ease the itch, take short, lukewarm baths in a colloidal oatmeal preparation, which you can buy at your local drugstore. You can also draw a bath and add one cup of baking soda to the running water. Taking short, cool showers may also help.
  7. Consider calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. Apply calamine lotion to skin that itches. If you have a mild case, a hydrocortisone cream or lotion may also help.
  8. Apply cool compresses to the itchy skin. You can make a cool compress by wetting a clean washcloth with cold water and wringing it out so that it does not drip. Then, apply the cool cloth to the itchy skin.
  9. Consider taking antihistamine pills. These pills can help reduce itching, however use with caution. You should not apply an antihistamine to your skin, as doing so can worsen the rash and the itch.

If your rash is not improving after seven to 10 days, or you think your rash may be infected, see a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist can treat your rash and any infection and help relieve the itch.

Author: Lynda LaCour

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