What is the best treatment for poison ivy?
Many think that once you have a rash from poison ivy/oak/sumac, you
are contagious until it's gone, spreading it around on yourself and
to others. However, the rash is a contact dermatitis, which only
produces a rash when the body is in direct contact with the
allergen (in this case the oil of the plants, urushiol). Once
you've washed thoroughly and rid contact with contaminated
clothings/towels/sheets there are no oils remaining on your skin.
Moreover, any further rashes that appear are in fact not "new"
rashes from touching another rash, rather they are late-showing
rashes, which originated from the initial contact with the plant.
Simply put, you aren't contagious to yourself or others once you've
distanced yourself from the source of contamination even if you
blister or ooze (there is no urushiol leaking out of your
Now to the important informations....treating that awful rash.
The answer is focused on two areas:
The Itch: calamine lotion, anti-itch cream (topical
antihistamine) and/or benadryl (oral antihistamine)
The Rash: hydrocortisone (topical anti-inflammatory)
Now, if you find that these rashes are causing massive swelling
(especially in important areas like the mouth, nose, eyes, or
genitals) you need to seek medical help so it doesn't compromise
important functions (breathing, seeing, urinating)...this may be
all due to a hyperactive reaction to the urushiol. Then you may be
using systemic corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.
Otherwise, this can all be treated at home and will take time to
heal this terribly annoying rash!