If you should find yourself walking in woods, you ought to know a poison ivy treatment - just in case you or someone else encounters this plant. Not everyone is allergic to poison ivy, but you don't know that until you have touched some.
In fact, this allergy can happen with two similar leaves; oak and sumac. Fortunately, the same treatments can be applied.
Your first line of protection if you are going to hike or walk in unfamiliar territory, is to wear long pants, and long sleeves. I know, you think you will get hot from the exertion and want to wear shorts. Well, you have been warned! Is comfort more important to you than protection from a crisis of extreme itch?
Poison ivy, oak leaves, or sumac leaves, give off a sap, or oil called urushiol. It only takes a few tiny drops to set up a huge reaction in your skin. However, you have about five to ten minutes before the itch becomes a fire.
Assuming all warnings are too late; you have just brushed against these poisonous leaves, whether of ivy, oak, or sumac, - or your dog has just run through such a patch, and come to you for a petting - yes, you can get it second-hand like that, what can you do immediately in those five to ten minutes to alleviate the painful itch?
I don't know this from personal experience, but I've read that if you can get to water and quickly wash the spots on your skin where those urushiol drops touched you, you may get most of that oil off before it penetrates into your skin. Let's hope! Remember to be careful not to rub the spots as that will drive it into your skin. Rather, rinse, rinse, rinse!
Wash your clothes and shoes too, as soon as possible, so you don't spread it all over your body, or pass your poison ivy on to someone else.
Secondly, learn to recognize what the jewelweed plant looks like. It has tall, translucent stems and hanging, trumpet-shaped yellow or orange flowers. It gets its name from the way the leaves repel water droplets, making them look like jewels on the leaves. If you spot jewelweed nearby, crush a handful of that plant's leaves and stems, and smear the juice that breaks out of them onto your affected areas. It works against the poison, so makes a natural poison ivy treatment.
This was new to me, so I did a quick internet search, and promptly came to this page, with photos and more details; wildmanstevebrill.com/plants
Supposing you didn't know the above immediate poison ivy treatments, or you forgot, what should you do when the itch and pain sets it at home?
First off, now you want to cool down the itch with ice or cold pack compresses. There are a number of things to try. If one doesn't do it, try another poison ivy treatment.
Ah-ha! I like this first one; to draw out the poisonous oil, apply pure aloe vera gel from a plant leaf. Bottled aloe vera may not be as strong as it is usually diluted with preservatives, but if that's all you can get - try that too.
Lacking aloe vera try;
* Make a baking soda and water paste, and smear it over the itchy spots. (Relief may be temporary and you have to keep still to tend the compresses.
* Cold coffee
* Soap and cold water
* Grind up some oatmeal, add some baking soda, and use in a bedtime bath so you can get some sleep.
There are some fairly decent ideas on besthealthmag.ca, but you know me, I favour the aloe vera suggestions.
I don't expect to be anywhere near those poisonous leaves, but if I should, I want to remember to rinse immediately - even if I have pour my drinking water on the spots! I would look around for that jewelweed (and I need to study up on it to make sure I'd recognize it).
As soon as I got home I'd split one of my aloe vera plant leaves, and get it over the spots, and hold it in place. Maybe in a few minutes replace it with another one. The goal being to draw that poison OUT!
I am a Forever Living Business Owner, and the one product I use the most, is the tube of Aloe Heat, a lotion that has aloe vera in it, but also a bit of cayenne, which works wonders for making minor pain and hives, etc., disappear in seconds. As soon as the raw aloe vera had drawn out the poison - or as much as possible. I would start applying this Aloe Heat lotion, and as often as needed to be pain free.
I suspect I would not need the other compresses, but just in case, if the aloe vera doesn't do it in a few hours, I might give the other compresses a try. But I would keep coming back to aloe vera! Naturally.