poison ivy!!!!

Morningglorygal(Z6--KY)May 30, 2002

Hi everyone, I helped my sister (who doesn't enjoy gardening) finally clean up her over grown jungle, I mean backyard. Needless to say, I now have poison ivy for the first time in my life, and I am itching. I've tried calamine lotion, and benedryl and nothing. Any suggestion to help ease the itch. Thanks

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Look for some dock leaves (usually near stinging nettle) or impatiens leaves, crush them and rub them gently on the itchy bits. Elderberry juice is also effective. Try Aloe Vera gel - straight from the leaves if possible, and slather it on.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2002 at 6:44PM
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ggrubb(z6 OH)

Salt water make it VERY salty and leave it dry on . It burns at first, but will dry it up. Aloe helps too.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2002 at 9:16PM
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adrianag(AL z7)

This year I have had great success taking a prescription antihistamine called Respahist. One pill and the itching stops. The blisters have dried up and gone away in no time.

Aloe Vera was soothing until the pill kicked in.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2002 at 2:55AM
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Supposedly works on poison oak so probably will on poison ivy too. Shaklee's Basic H. Just slather it on full strength. Drys it up. Had a neighbor that tried everything for poison oak, including Dr.'s prescriptions. Nothing worked. Someone told her about Basic H and it worked.

I am not affiliated with Shaklee products in any way.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2002 at 9:09PM
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digger_NC(z7 zip277)

I hope your poison ivy has cleared up by now but for future reference Jewel Weed -Impatiens capensis is the answer to any poison ivy sufferer's prayers! There is a component of the plant that actually breaks the bond the oil of poison ivy makes with your skin. Burt's Bees make a poison ivy soap that includes jewel weed extract. I've found that if I shower within 20 minutes of exposure I don't get any symptoms. If I miss the 20 minute window, the symptoms are much less and can easily be treated with calamine. I'll be trying to make my own extract this summer. I am in no way affilated with Burt's Bees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jewel Weed

    Bookmark   June 6, 2002 at 4:56PM
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I was wondering earlier if there were any products containing jewelweed, and POOF, there's my answer! I am an absolute believer in jewelweed...but it doesn't show up here until later in the season. Whatever you do, don't let the dr give ya steriods.. I'd rather itch! I've heard that an oatmeal bath is helpful...AAKKK...itching too much..can't type!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2002 at 3:29PM
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For future reference (I HOPE yours has cleared up by now!!!!!)...the local herbalist recommended soaking in a bath of dead sea salts...will be trying it later tonight...

    Bookmark   June 9, 2002 at 7:16PM
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I was wondering about the steroids. My poison ivy the doctor said was systemic, my lymph nodes where swollen, my hands and feet were about 4 times their regular size, I couldn't walk for 3 days. I tried some type of spray from a health store that contained jewelweed, it help a little but not much, didn't know if it was because my went to my blood system. Anywho, this was the first time I have ever had it, and I pray I never get it again, two weeks and I'm still itching, and I just yesterday was able to get out of bed. Hope you feel better soon.... and thanks ever one for your responses.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2002 at 10:41PM
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Poor baby!! OOOOOO....Mine doesn't seem as bad all of a sudden...I'm not sure if I'd turn down the steroids in your position...The time I took them the doctor was over-reacting and I stupidly took the first pill and was stuck continuing...Couldn't sleep, felt horrible! In my case the cure was way worse than the problem! Jewelweed is an excellent preventitive if you use it soon after exposure, but only of minimal help once you're infected...I'm glad I found out about the soap for times the plant isn't availble! I've heard of a product called IVY BLOCK...think I'm going to try it. I hope you're better!!!!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2002 at 10:28PM
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A decoction made from root of Saponaria officinalis (soapwort/ bouncing bet) applied to rash and allowed to air dry helps relieve itching and promotes healing.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2003 at 6:48PM
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Posie(z3 MN)

An older German Doctor once told me that you would never get poison ivy if you drank Sumac Tea. He said to take the red Sumac blossoms and run hot water over them to get rid of any insects hiding in them. Then soak the blooms in hot water. I'm not sure of the proportions but he said it resembled lemonade in taste. Began drinking the tea every week or so beginning in March of each year. Also, for the itch of Poison Ivy use
Arid Extra-dry dedorant as a spray and it will stop the itch. My Hubby gets Poison ivy just thinking about it and uses several cans of the Arid Extra-dry every summer. I never remember to gather any Sumac to make the tea for him! Got to put that on my TO DO list!!! Soaking the blooms in salt water should also remove any aliens.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2003 at 11:54PM
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Nancy5050(7a - 7b)

My old long gone Indian granny to the best of my memory ,used to have us ingest a small amount of the poison ivy in the earily spring ,but as I said to the best of my vague memory . After numerous small cases each year ,very mild ,but none the less arrovating ,I have been sorely tempted to try this ,but just afraid to get poison ivy of the insides.,so so far I have refrained myself .Now my question is does anyone out recall simular memorys.,and if so could you kindly relate them.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2003 at 3:36PM
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Hey Nancy, I have heard of that bt it is because it is the theory behind allergy shots and homeopathic remedies. The theory is that if you ingest small quantities of the thing you are allergic to over time you develop immunities to it. Think about the smallpox vaccine or polio and the others, that is wha they do. Very interesting and very true. Good luck kathy

    Bookmark   January 25, 2003 at 3:25AM
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Clay may help to draw out poison and sooth itching skin as well as create a seccond skin protecting the affected area.
I read that an infusion of artemesia, cooled to room temperature, can be used effectivly as first aid for oily poisons such as this.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2003 at 1:37PM
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The best thing I have ever found for poison ivy is the homeopathic remedy; Rhus Tox (any potency). It works for many rashes and not just poison ivy. B.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2003 at 12:59PM
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Well, I have friends who swear by Plantain....it sure works for me! on any itching!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2003 at 7:55PM
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Debbie0108(z5 MI)

For two years I kept getting poison ivy when my husband did and both years his went right away. The first year I bought everything over the counter I could get my hands on and nothing worked and the oatmeal baths seemed to spread it more. Finally I had to go get shots. The second year I ran out of my bath soap and used his dial (the gold bar). It took care of my poison ivy without putting anything else on it. It is hard to believe that is all I had to do and have never heard anyone mention it before. Hope this helps someone out there. I had it so bad I couldn't even sleep. Debbie

    Bookmark   May 13, 2003 at 12:26AM
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I also swear by plantain - it has a very short season around here though. elder leaves work well also. barb

    Bookmark   May 13, 2003 at 1:17AM
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JEWEL WEED!!!!! I'm extremely allergic, and usually get complicated syx, but since using jewel weed, I'm virtually syx free. If I wash with the soap as soon as I come in from the yard, I generally can avoid a problem. If miss something, I apply the soap, and leave it on all night, and that almost always arrests it. There's also a spray and a balm. What a miraculous herb!!! gw

    Bookmark   May 13, 2003 at 11:38PM
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Jewelweed is the natural antidote to poison ivy and usually grows near the poison ivy. Last summer my daughter had poison ivy. I looked frantically for Jewelweed andone day walking down the road I found it growing right behind a nice bunch of poison ivy. Good joke on Nature's part. Since I do not get poison Ivy I walked over to it and picked a bunch of the flowers and leaves. At home I made a tincture with it and applied it to her. Poison Ivy was gone in two days and the itching immediately subsided.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2003 at 2:50AM
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Found this thread looking up "itch of poison ivy" online. Why??? I have it too! In places that weren't even exposed to the air! Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak! I don't know how to find Jewelweed but I will pay one million dollars to the first person who FedXs some leaves my way!


PS...Only kidding about the million dollars. Sigh. Don't have that much money but I can send plenty of empathy out to my fellow sufferers.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2003 at 11:04PM
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binki(z8, Portland, OR USA)

One thing that helps in the short term is really hot water. Turn the faucet on hot, put your affected area under it, and let the water get hotter, hotter, hotter, until it's pretty much scalding and you can't stand it.

This stops the itching for me fast, then I put Benadryl cream or suchlike on it.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2003 at 4:22PM
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If the poisons are not drawn out of the skin, the blisters can recur in succeeding years even if you just walk past poison ivy. If you draw out of the poisons immediately after exposure to them, the rash clears up withing hours never to reappear. The longer you wait with the treatment, the longer the cure takes.

I know the original cure used by the natives of Manitoba. It is the most easily found clay taken directly from any subsoil. I can send the directions out on request. This cure works on any poison as well as on infections and burns.

This is a secret remedies used only by medicine men, and I consider myself very fortunate to have learned about it. None of my native friends in Manitoba knew about it until I told them. Mind you, most of them are immune to poison ivy and can walk in it barefoot all day long.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2004 at 2:51AM
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katnjam(z5 MI)

Trust me on this one, aloe vera gel! I tried it one day in desperation when nothing else was working (prescription, over the counter and home-made remedies). It worked miracles. Best of all, you can apply it as often as needed, it doesn't leave you greasy or "pink" and is great for your skin. Try it, you'll be amazed.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2004 at 10:44AM
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dumbunni38(z5-6 MO)

hi people,

so it was the hot water that stopped my itching, I thought it was the baking soda I put in the water....I tried everything, I could get my hands on...at home....Then a friend told me about Ivarest, it is made by blistex, and as he does highway work, and gets into eveything, and is allergic to everything, he said that was the only thing that helped him....Also said it might be hard to find, and after looking in several Walmarts, I finaly manged to find 1 box of it left....By then my itching was on the way out, so I haven't used it....But I've got it for the next time..

But hopefully this will help someone else...as I have not seen it mentioned by anyone else....

And no I'm not asociated with Blistex or any other company....

    Bookmark   May 25, 2004 at 10:24PM
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stardust(5b NE Ohio)

I don't visit this forum often but I'm sliding through here today. I am a die hard easy target for poison ivy. I get it just be being in the area when it pollinates. We live in the woods surrounded by government property. That means I can never erradicate it or even come close to controling it.

I get systemic reactions as it sounds that you have. Once I come in contact, I'm doomed. No immediate wash with anythign will help. It gets into my system and errupts anywhere I have items that rub or areas that are very warm (i.e. wrist watch band, waist bands of clothing, shoes/socks ...).

I have suffered this since childhood. I'm now 45. Since my teens the doctors have suggested alergy shots because me reaction is so severe and treatment is all but non effective. This year I finally remembered early enough in the season to start them and then the manufacturer stopped making them after the second of a three shot series.

My point is that, unfortunately, steroids is my only relief/cure option. I did not have this treatment until about 10 years ago. When they administered it I scoffed. Absolutely NOTHING had ever worked before. I would suffer for weeks, months, entire seasons with it. Within a few days I found relief that normally would have never come.

I have since changed doctors a couple of times. It is very difficult for me to get a doctor to prescribe the steroids for me, especially in the high dose required for me. They don't like to do it. I have to suffer through the 'preferred method ot treatment' thing first. The only relief I get is from the Prednisone. I fortuantely do not suffer any side effects and I have to take it a high concentrations. My body is very tolerant of most chemicals and low doses don't work either. You do have to follow the prescribed directions carefully. You cannot just stop taking this medication abruptly. I have never had a problem.

I do stay away from any un-mowed areas or areas that I'm not familiar with. I do not sit on the lawn. I got it that way once. The lawn was freshly mowed and I'm guessing the blades carried the oil across the yard. I stay out of the woods except where there is a open area to view. One of the worst cases I got was carrying in firewood one winter when I was about 12. Apparently there had been poisen ivy on the tree previously and I got it. Yeah, poisen ivy in the dead of winter. What fun. All those heavy warm clothes to wear here in Zone 5 Ohio.

I still get it occassionally. Even with all the care I take. But after all those years of suffering and pain, I know there is relief. Poison ivy can be very dangerous if it is severe. I would not toy around with treatment if you have severe reactions. I don't like drugs of any kind but I don't fool with this. I'm told that the body gets weaker in it's attempts to fight of allergens as we get older. That makes me all the more careful in my treatment and avoidance of Poison Ivy.

Sorry folks. Sometimes we just HAVE to turn to modern medicine when other things don't work. Trust me, over the last 30 years, I have tried them ALL. I for one will not risk my health and well being to remain vigil in the use of herbal only remedies. I use them when I can. I too prefer them. Sometimes we just don't get what we want. Or ... we get things we don't want.



    Bookmark   June 27, 2004 at 10:50AM
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I was just wondering if anyone knows how to get rid of Poison Ivy in the yard???I just moved into a house and there is poison ivy along the fence.I need to find a way to get rid of it since I am allergic to it.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2004 at 5:11PM
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Goats are safe to eat it. It does not bother them for some reason?!

Impatiens that have been previously mention, can be picked and thrown throught the blender and frozen on ice cube trays to keep year round when the plant is not available.
(just remember is it is for external use!):)

Cheers GGGG

    Bookmark   July 8, 2004 at 11:42PM
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it may be called poison ivy, but what is this about drawing out the poison. i understand the chemical, urushiol, in the plant BONDS with the proteins in your skin. then, the reaction occurs. then, the oils of the plant get washed away, but the reaction has already begun, like a cancer if i may say so myself.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 7:46PM
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habitat_gardener(z9 CA/Sunset15)

Wiping skin *gently* with an alcohol-drenched cloth at the end of a work day is the best way to avoid a poison oak (or poison ivy) reaction. Standard rubbing alcohol -- the 70 percent stuff that's about 50 cents a bottle.

I got a mild case of poison oak in early June on my upper arm while wearing a long-sleeved shirt. (Apparently, long sleeves don't help much in the summer because urushiol, the allergenic oil, can wick through sweaty clothing.) I didn't get any poison oak on my wrists, which were exposed between gloves and sleeve, because I swabbed them with alcohol after I finished working. And when I got home I took a shower and washed my clothes. When the rash appeared, I found that ice stopped the itching for hours. I wrapped an ice cube in a paper towel and held it against the rash for 10 or 20 seconds or so at a time, then away for a few minutes, etc., until the ice melted.

That's my experience. Here's what the experts say:

I have a wonderful little book, _Nature's Revenge: The secrets of poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and their remedies_, by Susan Carol Hauser (NY: Lyons & Bedford, 1996, 111 p.), vetted by a dermatology professor and expert on poison oak/ivy in the foreword (Wm. Epstein, MD).

According to the book, urushiol begins to bond with the skin within 5 to 10 minutes after contact, but gently wiping the skin with a cloth drenched in rubbing alcohol can leach the urushiol out of the skin for up to 4 to 6 hours after contact. Copious amounts of water are also recommended, to dilute the oil; but normal amounts of water, packaged alcohol wipes, or soap (if used without lots of water) can spread the oil. Hot water can remove more oil than cold water, but is not recommended because it opens the pores more, making the skin more vulnerable to urushiol.

Once a rash appears, the urushiol is gone. It has been chemically changed and therefore cannot be removed (or spread). The rash is your immune system's reaction. If the rash covers large areas of skin, or is on the face or genitals, or causes unbearable itching, medical treatment with corticosteroids interrupts the allergic process. In milder cases, gentle home remedies for itching include calamine lotion (not caladryl), colloidal oatmeal, cool or tepid compresses of plain water or Burow's solution. Hot water releases histamines and relieves itching, but is harder on the skin. Scratching the rash can cause an "after-dermatitis itch" that can last for weeks or months.

My cousin on the east coast has used epsom salts to relieve the itching of poison ivy for hours. (The paste is 1 tsp of water to 3 tsp of epsom salts--baking soda and oatmeal also work.) She has also used the homeopathic remedy Rhus tox.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 12:51PM
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How to remove Poison Ivy from your skin!
The irritant in poison ivy is urushoil. It is a sticky oil.
If you come into contact with it, it will cause problems until it is removed from your skin and anything that comes in contact with your skin. There are several products sold just for this.

I'm very allergic to urushoil and have tried many. The best and most readily available is the same soap that your mechanic uses to remove motor oil from their hands.
Because urushoil is a sticky oil it does require a little more scrubbing but it works 100%.

Directions for removal:

1.Apply the [mechanics] soap dry (DO NOT ADD WATER) to the affected area.

2. Scrub for 2 minutes.

3. Wash off completely with COLD water. If you use hot water, then you may be in for an unpleasant surprise!

Note: The residue soap will now contain the urushoil, and when the residue drys it may become sticky oil again.

4. All itchiness should be gone. If not repeat the process.

I like Lava and JoJo brands the best. The grittier the better.

Walmart, KMart, Your local auto parts store will all carry this soap. I usually buy the 16 oz squeeze bottles for around ~$2.

This soap also gets the urushiol and many stains out of clothes. Just be sure to hose the residue off the clothes before adding them to your laundry.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 10:55AM
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I recently cleared all the weeds in my back yard and ofcourse some of it was poison ivy. now i'm afraid of going back there after all the itching that I had. Can any one tell me the difference between poison ivy and english ivy? can poison ivy climb a tree 15 or 20ft in heigh? yes I heard about the three leaves and this one has it, so is it poison ivy?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 8:08AM
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lilikoi(zone 8)

I don't get poison ivy but I sure do get bit by everything under the sun whenever I step out by back door. I live in the tropics so we have BIG bugs.

I just tear off a leaf from my plantain and mush it up and apply to the bite. It works instantly to relieve the itching but sorry to say it doesn't draw out the poison. The lump will still be there just won't bother you as much.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 9:39PM
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Lye soap; Tecnu; homeopathic pills for Poison Ivy all work for me.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 5:50PM
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dry it up! to stop itching. the salt water remedy mentioned at the top of this thread is lovely....inexpensive, low tech and it works!

if you know you are sensitive, wear gardening gloves next time. (i know, i hate gardening gloves too but they are protective. luckily i don't get poison ivy rash even when i touch it so can garden gloveless with impunity! : )

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 11:42AM
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Be sure to wash any exposed clothing very carefully, too.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 6:49AM
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Take one part ammonia, ten parts water. As soon as you can take a cloth wet with the mixture an soak the infected area, an let air dry. Do this before you do anything else. This should be done be for you break out. The ammonia breaks down the acid in the poison ivy. This works

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 8:21AM
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A mixture of hydrocortisone cream, benzocaine cream, aloe vera lotion, and neomycin antibiotic gel works wonders on poison ivy. Wash thoroughly with soap and cool water, then mix the above together and apply generously to the poison ivy blisters. The ratio I use is 1/3 aloe lotion and equal parts of the other three. This mix is also the most effective sunburn cream you will ever find. For sunburn, I make it with a bit more benzocaine cream to increase the pain relief. These items are available at most pharmacies for less than $20. After mixing, store in the refrigerator for up to a week. It degrades rapidly in storage so don't mix up too much at a time.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:27AM
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when the itch is unbearable rub with ice. It is short term, but relieves it almost instantly.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 6:11PM
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Here's my remedy.

1) Ooops, that was poison (ivy or oak or sumac)!

a) Avoid touching others or rubbing as possible!

2) Drive to Wal*Mart or K-Mart or similar

3) Buy 10 wash clothes

4) Buy 5 - 10 quarts of 90% (or 70%) isopropyl alcohol

5) Buy one cartoon of Benedryl Allergy Capsules

6) 1 quart of PineSol

7) 1 box of Borax

8) Pay for all the above

9) Take the Benedryl Capsule as directed for my age for allergies. Not more or not less.

10) Take off all clothing and put in the washer on hot and use 16 oz of PineSol and a cup of Borax to wash clothing

11) Go to bath room with wash clothes and alcohol and get in tub and give myself a wash cloth soaked in alcohol bath similar to how hospital patients are give sponge baths. I have 10 wash clothes so that's a wash cloth for:

a) Right Hand
b) Left Hand
c) Right Arm
d) Left Arm
e) Right Leg
f) Left Leg
g) Right Foot
h) Left Foot
I) Waist, Hips, Groin, and Buttocks
j) Chest and Back
k) Neck, Face, and Head with an 11th wash cloth.

I start with the areas that I know have poison ivy oil on them and I soak the rag in alcohol, wash the area thoroughly and repeat. Then I use another rag and do another area of the body, working from the areas most likely have poison ivy oil to the least likely to have poison ivy. I use an 11th wash cloth already in the house to be very careful I don't get poison ivy on my neck, face, or head.

I then take a normal shower and wash thoroughly.

I then dress and put the clothes in the dryer.

The jewelweed and things that soothe poison ivy aren't as effective as what I outlined above. Sorry.

If you have itchy blisters and need to soothe poison ivy then the cheapest way is to keep a lot of isopropyl alcohol nearby, soak a rag in it, and wash the itchy area. The alcohol evaporates quickly and 'cools and relieves' the itchy area without making a mess everywhere and ruining clothing, bedding, and furniture.

Jewelweed, Calamine, Aloe Vera also 'soothe' but not as much as the alcohol and they also make a mess. The alcohol also help to dry the blisters.

The best thing against the itching though is to take Benadryl Allergy Capsules as directed for allergies. They'll take 4 - 24 hours to get working but they work. Benedryl Crème isn't of much more use the Calamine or Aloe Vera.

This is from someone with sensitive skin that has used the Benadryl Capsules and Alcohol Wash Cloth Baths before and they work. They just don't slightly soothe: they eliminate the itching and stop the spread of the poison ivy oil (the alcohol wash cloth bath).

Benedryl Capsules is also good against the irritation of insect bites. Of course the best is to avoid getting bitten or oil on you.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 9:22PM
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CEFreeman(DC/MD Burbs 7B)

This is a lot of hoo-ha over nothing -- but a miserable experience. This from a person who gets PI from photographs.

PI is oil. No more, no less. Urshoil in fact. Plants have this like humans have blood. If you itch, you still have the oil on you. It makes a chemical burn on your skin.

How do you remove oil? With a degreasing soap, just like doing dishes. Not club soda, not alcohol (altho it feels good), not Ivory. A degreaser. Either industrial (Lava or Lever 2000) or residential (Dawn dishwashing liquid, for example).

My own preventative measures are easy and inexpensive. Technu was a joke for me. I do this:
Before I mow the lawn or garden, I rub Dawn dishwashing liquid on me like suntan lotion. It's gross, but it dries.
I do my garden thing.
I come in and rub more Dawn on me and wait a few minutes.
Then, in HOT water, I take a shower. Love that hot water and it helps remove OIL.
Easy peasy.

I can tell you that I do not get PI if I follow this routine. If I do not, you know it's summer when Christine has PI on her butt. Weeping, raw, 3rd degree burn wounds.

Keeping in mind that the bubbles' liquid on your skin will not spread PI. PI is not parasitic. It's the remaining oil on you or your skin that will spread it. If you're not thorough, you might not have washed it off completely and it might take a little time for it to burn you. Me? Within minutes. Some, like my sisters? A day or so. It's not that it's spreading, but that it's still there.

A thimble full of PI oil will infect NYC.

If you get it on your stomach or the inside of your forearms, your body is more likely to respond to the chemical burn (Urshoil) as an allergen and respond systemically. Benedryl or another strong, non-decongestant antihistamine is your best bet.

I'm so sorry people go through this. All the crazy home remedies like bleach, kerosene, and caladryl lotion are so ineffective and a waste of time in the face of actual relief.

Get the oil off yourself fast. Or, prevent it from attaching to your skin: Degreaser.

Did you know that the "Vapors" of the 1800s were actually poison ivy? The leaves and berries are so pretty they were used to make beautiful arrangements. Talk about discounting women's illnesses....

Anyway, good luck.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 12:11PM
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Vermont Country Store has a fantastic poison ivy pill remedy. It does contain a small amount of the plant. it begins working very quickly, in fact , in my experience the poison is gone within a few days.
Also, an older man I knew told me when he and his brother were kids his mother had them eat a small leaf of the plant when they got it and it worked so well he continued doing that into his sr. years. I've never tried it, but I have heard the same from other people.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 2:52PM
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Eating poison ivy leaves will not produce immunity, but it can cause serious problems.

"The old folk tale about eating poison ivy leaves to make yourself immune is just that -- a myth. Never eat the leaves or berries of poison ivy or other wild plants, many of which can cause very dangerous reactions."

Here is a link that might be useful: Preventing and treating poison ivy rash

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 3:24PM
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CEFreeman(DC/MD Burbs 7B)

That's insane really not a good idea.

But in El Salvador they gave my DH small pills for his intestinal issues. Broken open, they contained mercury.
And we wonder about insanity....

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 11:03PM
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I'm so allergic, I'm sure that if my mother had made me eat a leaf when I was a child, I would not be here today because I would have DIED! UGH!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 11:08PM
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I have a severe allergy to poison ivy, much worse than most people. It gets swollen and flaming red, gives me a fever and makes me very ill. Nothing but steroids works for me. When I developed sores from it when pregnant, I couldn't take steroids. So my dermatologist suggested an old remedy: COLD TEA compresses. Just plain strong black tea, poured onto a cloth. Amazingly, it worked! The burning and itching stopped, the swelling faded, the redness and fever went away. Amazing. Try it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:21AM
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tea is astringent which dries the poison ivy rash out. anything that dries it out works. tea bags, calamine, salt water, acorn water, etc.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 4:33PM
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If I get a rash, I take care of it in the shower. Note that this is not right after getting into contact with poison ivy. This is days after when the urushiol is gone and all you have left is an itchy rash.

I'll shower, then at the end I'll turn up the temp of the water and spray the area with the rash. Maybe 30-60 seconds. The hot water on the rash feels ridiculously wonderful.

After that, there's no itch for about 8-12 hours.

I probably won't relate things correctly, but it was explained to me that the hot water releases the histamines that your body produces. Those histamines are what causes the pleasurable "just scratched" sensation.

With the histamines depleted by the hot water, there is no itchiness at the rash for the remainder of the day.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 4:48PM
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To get rid of it: I've had good luck with Ortho Max mixed into a spray bottle or pump sprayer. Spray the plants repeatedly every few days. The plant turns yellow and dies in a month or so. It doesn't seem to affect any other plants.
Be careful if you have dogs or cats that run loose. My mom had to go the the ER after petting a dog!
Yes. PI does climb trees.
For identification, look up pics on the web. It's pretty distinctive once you know it. It does resemble Virginia Creeper, but "NEVER has more than three leaves.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:26AM
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CEFreeman(DC/MD Burbs 7B)

sharpstick, you're wasting time and money. Pick yourself up some Round-up. Mix according to the directions -- no need to add more than advised. Spray once and it will die. Usually, within hours.

OrthoMax is a nonselective herbicide, just as Round-up is, which means it kills via foliage. It should be killing everything you get it on. Perhaps you're not mixing it correctly, if 1) you have to apply it more than once, or 2) it's not killing anything around the PI?

Keep an eye out for anything new coming up from the rooted vine, though, down the line further. I found Round-up will kill about 10' in either direction. Once it's dead, I don a space suit of bread bags and pull the vine out of the ground. Where it breaks, I keep an eye out for any sprouts. Everywhere it puts down a root, it'll put out leaves.

When I moved into my home here in the country, my fence line had these beautiful, weeping trees every 8' or so. Just beautiful. Later I learned they were fence posts with poison ivy wrapped around them so tightly the ivy had built up to about 10' of a trunk, at which point the ends drooped down. Imagine a tree in a horror movie that could start moving like snakes. That's all I could think of once I knew what it was. I am convinced it reaches out to me.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:43AM
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Do not break the blisters they contain the oil from the nettles on the Poison Ivy leaves and tend to spread the rash use...FELS NAPTHA! Nothing better...unless you are alergic to naptha! Wash the area with the soap making sure any broken blisters are completely scrubbed. This also helps the itching and the spread of the poison ivy, poison oak and dermatitis! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fels-Naptha

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia

This post was edited by kittkatt521 on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 16:45

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 4:40PM
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I disagree with those that asked about building an immunity by eating small amounts of the ivy, Here why. When I was a kid, and I am 55 now I was very allergic to poison ivy, and I was given poison ivy extract. I drank one tiny bottle each day for 3 days and then once a month for I think 3 months. I have not had a problem with it ever since. I even rubbed some on my arm last summer and had a bump or 2 but no itching. You can't get that extract any more but I do think what you wanted to do would work fine if you could get it in you without touching your mouth or throat, maybe in some white bread or something. I do remember getting a pretty good reaction those first 3 days. I also remember going to the doctor in an emergency situation because I had it so bad my throat was swelling up (thats when the doctor prescribed the ivy extract for me). Let me know if you try this,,, would like to do this with my grandkids, Jacques

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:33PM
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Here's a website that dispels some poison ivy myths, including the following:

Myth 2. If you eat poison ivy, you'll be protected from it in the future.

False. It's difficult to imagine how such a dangerous myth became so widespread. Eating poison ivy can result in a serious reaction and can even be fatal. Still, every year, students repeat this myth beginning, "My uncle says..." or "My Papaw says..."

Myth 3. Fluid from blisters can spread the rash to other body areas.

False. This is a tough myth to dispel because scratching the red area appears to spread the rash to other areas. Actually, the reaction develops over a period of time - usually taking hours or days to occur. The occurrence of a new rash, say further up the arm, doesn't mean the rash was spread but that that area was slower to respond to the poisonous oil.

This post was edited by eric_oh on Thu, Jun 19, 14 at 10:34

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 10:32AM
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CEFreeman(DC/MD Burbs 7B)

Wow! Since "that poster" refers to me, I repeat my success with the Dawn.
Since I learned about this with the Exxon Valdez situation, I've done this with incredible success. Since I don't experience "slippery tools" nor do I slip and fall, given the fact that 1) wear socks and shoes, and 2) I believe I stated I let it dry before I go out, (I believe I stated it feels gross.) nor do I seal up my pores and essentially implode, I think this is hysteria.

BTW, I stated up front that Dawn prevents the PI oils from "latching" only my skin and so far, in 10 years, I've not proved myself wrong

Are you one who insists upon a glass of hot water in which to soak your silverware when in a restaurant? Sounds like it.

Hysteria. Unnecessary.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 9:45PM
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I had poison oak and it blistered so I went to the doctor and he prescribed a few pills to be taken one the first day, two the next, and so forth until used up. Worked like a charm.

I was walking in the woods when I got it and I knew not to touch vines even though they had not leafed out yet. As I as walking I broke off a stick and broke it into little pieces. After I broke out I Google ivy and oak and it does the same thing to you, but ivy is a vine and oak is a shrub.

By the way the stuff can kill you. I know someone very allergic to it and his dad took him hunting and when they lit the campfire there must have been poison ivy on the wood. By the time his dad realize what was going on and he rushed him to the nearest hospital. The doctor said "are you trying to kill your son, this boy cannot go into the woods and you got him here just in time, his air passages were almost closed.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:23PM
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What Emma's described her doc prescribing is undoubtedly a short course of oral steroids - effective in bad outbreaks, but prevention is better.

I went out yesterday evening (perfect weather, warm and still) and hit all the poison ivy that's taken over the perimeter of the property at the fence line with brush killer.* The speed with which poison ivy spreads is beyond belief. Now I have to go out and hit the plant which sneakily has grown 25 feet up the side of the house, threatening an upstairs bedroom window.

*sorry, vinegar isn't going to cut it as an herbicide on this stuff.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 9:47AM
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I'm highly allergic to PI and have spent many summers in various stages of misery. I own a home in a heavily wooded property and PI is just about everywhere. I'm not in favor of herbicides so my removal weapon of choice is boiling water. It might seem like a long process but I am judicious about what parts of my property to treat and I know the PI will die (and I hope suffer a bit) but the surrounding vegetation will not be affected by any residue of something like Roundup.

To prevent PI, I use Oral Ivy, which is a homeopathic version of the dreaded U-oil that causes the itching. It's a slightly bitter liquid but a few drops in my last swig of morning coffee is all it takes. Yes, you do ingest it. Understand, it does not totally prevent PI but if you are exposed it prevents the rash and itching from becoming unmanageable. One bottle lasts me a couple years and it was pretty cheap the last time I ordered it online, maybe Amazon. I start taking it in the Spring and continue as long as the woods are green. I have not had any serious PI rash in the 10 years I've taken Oral Ivy. (And I don't work for the company that makes it -- I'm just a cheerful consumer!)

I refuse to let PI beat me. And I know as a sufferer for over 50 years, that the Oral Ivy is the best weapon in my arsenal.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Brian_Knight(Plant 6b Building Zone4)

Nothing works better than Technu, available OTC at most pharmacies.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 5:32PM
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Lookup Jewelweed soap on the internet. There are a number of natural soap makers who make it for poison ivy and rashes. And Rhus Tox as mentioned in an earlier post is good too. Something for the interior, something for the exterior. Don't eat the soap...

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 4:45AM
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CEFreeman(DC/MD Burbs 7B)

Brian, if Technu worked for me, I wouldn't be using Dawn (degreaser) dishwashing liquid. Both are discussed in this very thread.

Again, elysianfields, Jewelweed is discussed here. And I'm sorry to report for me it was just a nicely scented soap. Totally ineffective against any PI I've had. Didn't think to ingest it... LOL

I'm beginning to believe different things work very effectively for different people's PI. I know a degreaser prevents PI for me. Some swear by Technu, bleach, tinctures, etc.

The one thing I think we all agree upon is that it's as long as a 2-week nightmare.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 9:50AM
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" I'm not in favor of herbicides so my removal weapon of choice is boiling water. It might seem like a long process but I am judicious about what parts of my property to treat and I know the PI will die (and I hope suffer a bit) but the surrounding vegetation will not be affected by any residue of something like Roundup. "

Boiling water is a non-specific killer that also sterilizes soil, eliminating beneficial micro-organisms and insects.
By contrast, the brush/poison ivy killer trichlopyr has significant effects only on broad-leafed plants and is relatively non-toxic to animals and birds when used properly.

I don't employ herbicides on the lawn or in the garden, but for this one use (eliminating poison ivy and avoiding a horrendous skin outbreak) it is tolerable. If there was a safe and effective "natural" remedy, I'd use it - but none exists.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:16PM
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I am very allergic to PI and my city yard was covered with it. So far, I have managed not to get any despite being out in the garden.

When I was younger, I remember taking the little PI vials - not sure they did anything for me but I am still alive.

My brother contracted airborne PI at BS camp and had to be rushed to the hospital. I cringe every time I go by a pile of burning leaves in the fall.

I love to Mountain bike but a bit too risky for me unless I cover completely. The last time I broke out in giant blisters as I didn't see the hanging vine.

My mom used to put us in a clorox bath to help dry out the PI and decrease the itch (mild solution - don't know that it helped)

As Eric stated - once the blisters have formed - you don't spread it from the goo inside - I used to coach swimming before everyone was concerned about body substance precautions. Sometimes a kid would have PI and say they can't swim cause others will "catch" it from the blisters. I would make a bet - have them rub the goo on me (remember, highly allergic), and have them swim. I never broke out from the goo. LOL in these days.

I have read the best way to get rid of it is to make sure the area is very wet, cover completely, and slowly pull it out. They recommend using plastic bags on your hands so not likely to touch your face.

Fortunately, I found someone who can help pull out the PI and down to a few clumps until the birds deposit more seeds.

I will have to try the Dawn trick - but my understanding is luke or cool water is better than hot water as your pores stay closed. I also double wash clothes that have touched the oils. You can pick up PI from an unwashed blanket or towel or pet...

Thanks for the tips.

PS - I do have my emergency roids but I discovered there are things that can itch worse than PI!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 12:02PM
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Jewelweed is my answer for poison ivy, bug bites and stings. There is a way to have it ready for any emergency. When the plant is flowering cut it down, flowers, stems, leaves and all and simmer to make a tea. When it is cool, strain it and freeze in an ice cube tray. Store the cubes in the freezer until you need them. The cold also helps. The important thing is to treat as soon as you can.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 4:39PM
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Whatever you do, do NOT listen to the person who suggested you put hot water on it. I just saw an interview on the news with a doctor, and he said hot water will open your pores and the poison ivy will spread. Just put alcohol on it constantly, to draw out the poison and dry it out. I get it all the time.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 10:20PM
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CEFreeman(DC/MD Burbs 7B)

Please. Think.
If you have the oil off of you, which I do with my greatly feared Dawn Dishwashing liquid, there's no danger of the oil being worked into open pores.

Did the doctor mention getting the oil off as being important? Or did the Dr (like on Dr. Oz' show) simply hawk anti-itch medicines without removing the source of the bubbles, weeping sores, itching, and general misery?

I know I'm not alone that after all is said and done, nothing feels better than the most hot shower water your body can tolerate. Just think and get the stuff off of you. First.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 10:53PM
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Washing with warm or hot water will not "open your pores" and cause poison ivy to spread.

"Myth #9: Our pores open and close - When peering in the mirror you may notice lots of black pores, specifically on the tip of your nose. Scores of make-up products and home remedies have been developed to shrink the look of these tiny holes, many professing they close the pores. Others assert that steam or hot water opens the pores. The pores are consistently open, which is required to allow us to sweat. The skin oil, or sebum, also is released from the pores. The pores appear closed or full whenever the oils get backed up, clogging the opening. Hot water or steam helps soften these oils, organizing the pores. The pores, unfortunately, have no muscles and do not open or close."

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 8:10AM
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I have the evil invader inter-woven among the English Ivy that everyone here in Georgia uses for ground cover. BUT I am hard headed and will do what I can around the PI. Before I start the yard work, I rub Dawn dish detergent all over my exposed skin, feet, arms, legs, whatever. I figure since it is oily sap that is the enemy that the Dawn will break it down. Then when I am finished with the yard work, I hose down, since I am dirty already. The suds helps to clean my sandals. Then I go inside and use Dawn again in the shower with a specific nylon scrubber. Only straight Dawn - no scrubber- on my face. I usually wash at least once more with milder soaps. I figure it is better to add cream to my hide afterwards than have the ugly PI rash. Also, I saw a post that I thought of as comical. Someone thought that using bleach to kill PI was more toxic than Roundup, LOL. You can use a little bleach to purify drinking water, but I certainly would not use Roundup as a water purifier. Read up on its lasting properties.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:45PM
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" I saw a post that I thought of as comical. Someone thought that using bleach to kill PI was more toxic than Roundup, LOL.

Bleach (in a form concentrated enough to have an effect on poison ivy) is certainly more toxic than Roundup. Bleach is a nonspecific agent that will take out many forms of soil life, similar to boiling water.
It would also be considerably more unpleasant to accidentally splash bleach on yourself or your clothes, compared to Roundup.

Using bleach in the yard to kill weeds is about as environmentally responsible as using mothballs to repel critters - not a good idea.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:41PM
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But is there a way to keep it from growing in the first place??? How do I kill it? When I have even picked up the dead stuff I get it all over. My husband can pull it and...nothing! But, if I clean up the mess....off to the Dr. I'm so paranoid I clean the door knobs etc. and make him take his clothes off inside-out. You know, you get it fromt he oil of the plant, so it's on his clothing. People think that it "spreads" but it is really a latent outbreak from the oil being on clothing or anything else touched. I hate the stuff and I think I live in the Poison Ivy Capital of the World with all of our trees in the country. Thanks everyone. Is there an actual use for this stuff? Where is it on the food chain?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:47PM
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CE FREEMAN's original post makes the most sense!!!! It's pure genius! I am HIGHLY allergic to PI... I've tried everything mentioned by others ( and MORE!) over the years... I'm almost 60... I def am going to try the Dawn approach BEFORE going out to eradicate the PI... Which is an ongoing process as I have woods that abut my property that have plenty of PI growing of which I have no control over.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 8:52AM
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I worked as a tree climber for a tree service, and was on jobs where we were literally removing poison ivy all day, and chipping it which made the dust go everywhere (8 years ago). Since then, everytime I'm anywhere near poison ivy I get it, terribly, and it doesn't go away for weeks (systemic).

I haven't always been this way, and several home remedies have worked for me at times, but either my exposure changed me, or my physiology has changed :( After serious exposures it's a trip to the ER now. Fortunately I got a desk job.

Birds and other animals eat poison ivy seeds, and spread them (either uneaten or undigested). Seeds will continue to germinate even if you kill the plant, unless you use a pre-emergence herbicide (I'm not a big fan of that option).

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:51PM
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