I recently made a video entitled Poison Ivy Survival Guide which covers everything you need to know about poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, including how to identify these dreaded plants, how to avoid them, and how to most effectively deal with the miserable aftermath of coming into contact with them. It’s a fairly long video, as I cover a great deal of information in detail, but I’d encourage you to check it out if it’s a subject you’d like to learn more about. In this blog article, I’m going to cut right to the chase and answer what’s probably the #1 question that people have on the topic of poison ivy, and that is, how to get rid of the horrible, awful rash that can make your life utterly miserable for weeks on end!
While there are many lotions, creams, and medications that you can use to help soothe and minimize the terrible itching, swelling, and burning of poison ivy, as well as accelerate the healing of the rash, the unfortunate reality is that there is nothing that will simply make it go away instantly. If you get it, you’re going to have to have it for a while.
In my opinion, which is based on getting countless, severe cases of poison ivy for many, many years, the most effective way to deal with the rash, is to not get it in the first place by eliminating the allergic effects of the oil from poison ivy that causes all the trouble. And, the #1 way to do that is to IMMEDIATELY wash any clothes and gear that may be contaminated with the oil, as well as washing yourself thoroughly, as soon as you get back home for the woods…or…even do so out in the field if possible.
To clean your clothes and gear most productively, simply wash it thoroughly with plenty of strong detergent and hot water to break down the poison ivy oil. To wash your self, I highly recommend taking a bath or shower with Dawn dish soap. Dawn dish soap (or similar products) has a powerful degreasing agent that gets rid of oil and dirt quickly and very effectively. As you may remember from all the tragic oil spills over the years, wildlife rescuers cleaned up many an oil-contaminated critter with Dawn dish soap, and it’s equally successful at cleaning oil off of people…including poison ivy oil. Not to mention, it’s also great at cleaning up your dirty dishes!
Obviously, washing yourself with a heavy-duty degreasing soap is not the best thing for your skin on a long-term basis, and if you have very sensitive skin, you may want to check with your doctor first, but in general, taking a bath or shower with Dawn is quite possibly the #1 means of preventing the loathsome rash from plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Since I started this regime years ago, I’ve never gotten another major case of poison ivy since.
So there you have it, that’s my #1 most recommended tip for not getting poison ivy and similar rashes. Check out the video below to see more…