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3 Steps to Take if You Have Poison Ivy

3 Steps to Take if You Have Poison Ivy

A poison ivy rash is intensely itchy, hard to ignore, and seems to last way too long. When you have poison ivy, all you want is relief.

While there’s no magic cure for poison ivy, you can make yourself more comfortable.

Associated Skin Care Specialists is known throughout the Twin Cities for their its and compassionate approach to patient care. With the weather finally warming up, you may spend more time doing outdoorsy things like gardening or hiking.

Spending time outside doing the things you love is good for your body and mind, but you may unknowingly come in contact with the poison ivy plant. Our team has compiled a list of steps to take if you have poison ivy to minimize the itch and spreading of the rash.

1. Wash your skin

Wash your skin with lukewarm water and soap right away. The poison ivy rash is caused by urushiol, an oil made by the poison ivy plant. Almost everyone is allergic to urushiol

When left on the skin, urushiol can inadvertently spread to other parts of the body or to other people. Washing it off helps prevent the rash from spreading.

Taking short, lukewarm baths also helps reduce the itchiness of the rash as it runs its course. Adding baking soda to the bathwater can help ease the itching. 

2. Wash all contaminated items

The poison ivy plant oil sticks to everything it touches, including clothing, gardening tools, camping gear, pets, and leashes. If the oil from another item touches your skin, it’ll cause another rash.

Wash all of your clothes and any tools you think might have come in contact with the poison ivy. Pets pick up urushiol on their fur when they walk through the bushes or woods. Washing your pet removes the oil, reducing your risk of coming in contact with the allergen and getting the itchy rash. 

3. Don’t scratch or pop blisters

Itchy skin is the first sign of poison ivy and occurs before you develop any type of rash. The itch is intense and difficult to ignore, but you must avoid scratching so you don’t create open wounds that increase risk of infection. 

Your poison ivy rash may also develop blisters that break open and leak. Don’t pop or peel the skin of the blisters. Within a few days, the rash and blisters get crusty and flaky but remain itchy.

You can develop new rashes on different parts of your body over time. Your poison ivy isn’t spreading, but not all rashes occur at the same time. The first rash usually affects the skin hit with the largest amount of urushiol. Skin with small doses develops rashes later. 

Use calamine lotion, cortisone cream, and cool compresses to alleviate the itchiness between baths. 

Most poison ivy rashes don’t need specialized care and clear up within 2 to 3 weeks. If you still have an itchy rash after three weeks, schedule an appointment with one of our skilled medical dermatologists. 

Poor healing is a sign of an infection. We can evaluate your skin and confirm or rule out an infection and provide the appropriate treatment. We may also prescribe a steroid cream to control the discomfort.

We offer dermatology services at our offices in Blaine, Maple Grove, Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, Fridley, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Call the office most convenient to you today to schedule a consultation. 

We also have an office in New Brighton, Minnesota, which houses our dermatopathology department and dermatology research division.

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