A follow up on the Poison Ivy Identification post:
Natural Remedies and Proactive Steps
There are a few common natural remedies and proactive steps to alleviate the discomfort caused by poison ivy, but nothing I’ve found works perfectly and I don’t really think there’s a way to speed up the healing/recovery process. If anyone out there knows, please please please share your secrets! These options can provide relief and aid in the healing process:
- Calamine Lotion: I hate this stuff, but it’s the most popular. Calamine lotion is an over-the-counter remedy known for its soothing properties. It helps to relieve itching and dry out the affected area. You can find calamine lotion at your local pharmacy or online. I find it dries into a gross crusty covering that is almost as irritating as the rash itself. But hey, your mileage may differ.
- Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe vera gel has natural anti-inflammatory and cooling properties, making it a popular choice for soothing skin irritations. I use this one a lot for both rashes and burns, though you have to be careful with the cheaper brands as they feel slimy and sticky. Applying a thin layer of aloe vera gel to the affected area can help provide relief. You can find aloe vera gel at drugstores or online.
- Herbal Compresses: Herbal compresses, made from herbs like chamomile or witch hazel, can help reduce inflammation and ease itching. My friend showed me witch hazel some years ago and I really like it. To be fair it is a shorter-lived relief than Aloe Vera, but it is way more comfortable and there’s no sticky or tacky feeling on your skin after applying it so I just reapply and stay more comfortable. Prepare a compress by soaking a clean cloth in an herbal infusion and apply it to the affected area. It’s also pretty easy to pack a small amount into your pack just in case. You can find herbal compress kits or herbal infusions at health stores or online.
- Oatmeal Baths: Folks have told me oatmeal baths can provide relief from itching and inflammation. I’ve never done it and it sounds gross, but according to the internet and approximately 1.8 people I’ve spoken to: Colloidal oatmeal used in bath products (specifically designed to soothe) really helps with the skin irritation. You can look for oatmeal bath products at drugstores or online, I’m fine with the Aloe and Witch Hazel.
Poison Ivy sucks. Don't let it hinder your outdoor adventures, it doesn’t have to bring you down! Empowered with effective strategies, knowledge, and natural remedies, you can get out there and explore without too much worry. Take charge, conquer poison ivy, and experience the joy of uninterrupted outdoor pursuits. I still say the best strategy is just doubling down on long pants and shirts.
And again, if you're outside working with tools, don't forget to clean them! Those oils can stay on a machete blade for a few days and still get ya.