One of the best things about summer is enjoying lots of time outside. However, if you live in an area where Poison Ivy grows (literally) like a weed, you will have to be extra careful not to come in contact with it. If you’re anything like my son, despite your efforts to avoid Poison Ivy like the plague – you’ll end up with it anyway. Then, all you can focus on is the itchy skin that you just want to scratch off for relief!
Once Summer begins, I can always count on treating Poison Oak, Ivy, or Sumac at least twice per child! (That’s approx 6 times or more each Summer!) They know what it looks like and that they should avoid it, but sometimes they are having so much fun and don’t even notice it.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to treat the rash.
1. Banana peel – Some people say that the banana peel can cure any skin condition. Try rubbing the inside of the peel directly on the rash.
2. Vinegar – A much smellier option than a banana peel, but some vinegar applied to the rash with a cotton ball will help get rid of the itch.
3. Calamine Lotion. – The favorite treatment of children because you get to walk around covered in pink polka dots. Dab the Calamine Lotion on the rash with a cotton ball to stop the itching.
4. Hydro-cortisone Cream. – Readily available in most grocery and drug stores, hydrocortisone can help to stop the reaction. Don’t get false hope though – Poison Ivy rashes treated with hydrocortisone cream sometimes looks like they’re gone but come right back with a vengeance!
5. If all else fails, it’s best to see a physician. Poison Ivy rashes in the eyes or other sensitive areas always require medical intervention. Your family doc can give you a shot of steroids to stop the reaction.
The very best cure for Poison Ivy is prevention. Have you heard the saying, “leaves of three, let it be.”? Learn to identify Poison Ivy and teach your kids to identify and stay away from it also. Even the family pets need to avoid it. If Fido rolls in it and then jumps in your lap, you can get the rash.
Always wear gloves when you do yard work. Wash any clothing that may have touched Poison Ivy immediately, preferably with bleach. Urushiol, the substance that causes the rash can stay for years on clothing. Whatever you do – DON’T BURN POISON IVY! The fumes from burning Poison Ivy can actually kill you if you inhale them. Some of this sounds scary, but you don’t have to let Poison Ivy ruin your summer. If you do your best to stay clear of it, your chances of spending time this summer bathing in vinegar and banana peels are pretty slim. 🙂