Poison ivy rash is a skin irritation caused by the body’s allergic reaction to the oil on the leaves, stems and roots of the poison ivy plant. Similar irritations can also be caused from contact with poison oak and poison sumac. While the rash will generally go away on its own within about three weeks, the itching and after effects of the rash can worsen without treatment.
Remedies to Ease Poison Ivy Itching
Ways to help control the itching include:
- Over-the-counter corticosteroid
- Calamine lotion
- Antihistamines, like Benadryl
- Cold water with oatmeal or oatmeal-based bath product
- A paste of baking soda and water
Controlling the itching, reduces chances that the rash will get infected.
When to See a Doctor for Poison Ivy Treatment
Generally, you won’t need to see your healthcare provider to diagnose poison ivy. However, you should consult your healthcare provider if your rash spreads, worsens or doesn’t go away after a few weeks.
Questions to be prepared to answer when visiting your provider include:
- When the symptoms began
- History of similar rashes
- Recent time spent outdoors
- Recent treatments for the rash or other medications
While poison ivy rashes can be resolved quickly and with no lingering after effects, severe cases could result in difficulty breathing or swallowing, fever, swelling of the eyes, or rashes around or in the mouth.