Eradicating poison ivy can be a tricky process, but luckily this article will explore the various components and details the causes and symptoms of this toxic plant. If you have ever been unfortunate enough to experience the rash first hand, then you know how long it takes to get rid of the poison ivy symptoms. Read on to learn more about the best ways to get rid of poison ivy rash for good!
What Is Poison Ivy?
Poison Ivy is a flowering plant that is native to continental America. It thrives in wetlands, forests, coastlines, and even in parks. Since it only requires partial sunlight to grow, it can best be found where the ground has been disturbed. The entire makeup of this toxic plant consists of flowers, berries, buds, and leaves, wherein the leaves are thought to be the most dangerous.
Causes of Poison Ivy
Urushiol is an oil found in the sap of poison ivy plants. It easily clings to surfaces when it comes into contact with them, including your skin, clothes, and gardening tools. Once it bonds with your skin, your body reacts to it with a violent rash that spreads quickly.
Some of the causes for developing poison ivy rash are-
- Primarily, when you come into direct contact with the plant.
- Inhaling the smoke after burning the poison ivy often harms your nasal passages and lungs. It is recommended to wear a mask while burning the plant.
- Coming into contact with the oil through indirect means, like through your shoe or your gardening equipment
Exposure to poison ivy can lead to severe inflammation within your body, resulting in activating your immune system.
How Does Poison Ivy Rash Look Like?
Depending on where on your body you came into contact with poison ivy, the rash can take 24 to 72 hours to develop. For some people, the rash may last up to three weeks from the day of contact, but it usually peaks during the first week. Poison ivy rashes can look blotchy or like red raised skin blisters. If you’re still in contact with poison ivy, new patches of rash can develop quickly.
Signs and Symptoms of Poison IVY
If the poison ivy rash has infected you, here are the signs and symptoms that you need to look out for-
- Intense itching
- Crusting skin
- Breathing trouble
- Major swelling, if the condition is serious
- Skin blisters
Most times, the severity of your affliction rests on the level of urushiol you were in contact with.
Is Poison Ivy Contagious?
Absolutely not! Poison Ivy does not spread from person to person. However, the oil of the poison ivy can attach itself to various surfaces causing rashes. The rash in itself is not contagious and does not spread to other parts of the body. If it does spread, it can be because of your continued interaction with the plant oil or delayed reaction. For example, if you come in contact with the oil and then touch another part of your body, you may develop a rash there as well. If you have already been exposed to poison ivy, you may have a delayed reaction and develop a rash days or even weeks later.
If you come into contact with poison ivy, you may experience a number of uncomfortable symptoms. These can include:
- Upon scratching a rash obtained by poison ivy, the bacteria nestled under your fingertips can lead to a skin infection.
- In certain cases the pus starts to seep from the blisters, you might want to consult a medical practitioner.
- If you have inhaled smoke after burning poison ivy, there is a high chance you would suffer from breathing problems in addition to swelling within the lining of your lungs.
- Poison ivy rash can lead to breathing or swallowing difficulties, which without proper medical treatment may become fatal, often resulting in death.
Treatment of Poison Ivy Rash
If you have come into contact with poison ivy, there is no need to panic. In most cases, the rash will clear up on its own within three weeks. However, if your symptoms are severe and do not look likely to reduce, you may need to consult a doctor. Severe symptoms can include difficulty swallowing when the rash covers a better part of your body, rash spreading on your face or private areas, and/or inflammation of the rashes. Here are a few treatment plans that you can consider once infected:
- Calamine Lotion
Apply calamine lotion to your skin as it can reduce itching.
- Pain Relievers
Anti-inflammatory pain relievers like Advil and ibuprofen can help soothe your rash.
- Steroid Cream
The application of OTC steroid cream in the initial stages can reduce the severity of the rash.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Poison Ivy Rash
The ability of the finely grounded oats to bring temporary relief to itching is taken into consideration and often used as a medium for treating several skin conditions, including rashes.
Throughout centuries, the application of aloe vera on burn victims has been well-reasoned. What many do not know is that aloe vera also has certain properties capable of providing relief to skin itching and inflammation, making it a valuable product.
Methanol is prominently known for its cooling properties on inflamed skin. Essential oils, which include menthol-like peppermint essential oil and others, can be diluted in regular oil or lotion and left to relieve the irritated skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is the immediate go-to for most people when they want to get rid of poison ivy bumps on their skin. Anecdotal evidence alludes that the vinegar solution sears the oil of the poison ivy plant, which accelerates the healing process.
Application of Witch Hazel directly on the skin can reduce inflammation and burning. Witch Hazel has been involved in protecting your skin against damage and also wards off any infection, proving it to be a strong ally.
Prevention of Poison Ivy Rash
Here are some tips which can help you prevent getting infected by the poison ivy plant.
- Cover yourself properly, including your eyes, before going out to poison ivy-prone areas.
- Always carry an ivy-blocking cream to protect your skin from absorbing the oil of the poison ivy plant.
- Clean your equipment and clothes which you had worn and exposed outdoors
- Steer away from regions where poison ivy thrives
- Make sure that you scrub under your fingernails while taking a bath. Otherwise, it can spread to other parts of your body.
Facts About Poison Ivy
Here are a few solid facts that you need to know about poison ivy-
- You should never burn poison ivy as it can harm your health.
- Urushiol clings to your skin within seconds.
- Oils from poison ivy can cause dermatitis.
- The leaves of the poison ivy plant change color according to the seasons.
- Poison ivy is not contagious.
- Pets do not get the rash.
- Poison ivy plants are everywhere.
When to See a Doctor?
You have to consult a doctor or seek urgent medical help, especially when-
- You see yellow scabs or pus oozing out from your blisters
- Your temperature increases more than a 100ºF
- When your rashes do not decrease, and you find it challenging to get a proper night’s sleep.
- You have inhaled the smoke after burning the poison ivy plant.
- The rash has broken onto your face, genital area, or mouth.
- You notice extreme inflammation.
Urushiol can remain potent for weeks, so it’s important to rinse your skin with water and a good soap to remove any lingering oil. It’s always better to take preventive measures when you venture out into the forests than to risk your health.