All I have to do is look at a wooded area, and I get poison ivy. Many people never have the joy of getting it, and they are the lucky ones. If you are like me, and you do get it, here are some tips on making it easier to live with while you have it.
First of all, you can try to avoid getting poison ivy, oak or sumac by wearing long sleeves, and pants anytime you are near a woods. Tuck your pants into your boots so that there is no area of your legs left uncovered. Wear gloves anytime you are near a wooded area.
Carry a small bottle of germ-x with you if you are going into a woods, and if you touch anything, use the germ-x whenever you leave the woods. Poison ivy, oak and sumac have an oily substance that gets on your skin and cannot be washed away with just water. The alcohol in germ-x and other water free hand cleaners can get rid of the itchy oils that spread the poison. DO NOT USE GERM-X, OR RUBBING ALCOHOL UNTIL AFTER YOU LEAVE THE WOODS. The reason is because your skin actually has an oily layer that can protect you from some skin irritations, so you do not want to remove that natural skin oil and then get re-exposed to the poisons.
Whenever you leave a wooded area take off all your clothes as soon as you get home, throw them in the washer and take a shower. Make sure that you throw the clothes in the washer before you take a shower so that if your clothes have poison on them, you can wash it off in the shower. Use more soap than you could ever need.
FIRST AID FOR POISON IVY, OAK AND SUMAC:
The traditional product for poison ivy, oak or sumac is calamine lotion. Traditional Calamine lotion is pink and makes you look pretty funny, but they now have a product called Caladryl that is clear. Caladryl Clear works in pretty much the same way as calamine lotion, without the pink color.
Take an oral antihistamine. Taking an antihistamine can help with the itching. Benedryl is probably the most popular antihistamine and works quite well.
Zinc Oxide, witch hazel, aluminum acetate (Burow’s solution)and baking soda can be applied to the affected area to help dry out the poison blisters.
Oatmeal. Applying oatmeal to the oozing blisters or taking a bath in oatmeal is a very good way to feel some relief, and help in the drying out process. Aveeno is the most popular producer of oatmeal skin products, yet you can simply use oatmeal from your kitchen. Be forewarned that taking a bath in oatmeal is very messy and will make the bathtub very slick, so be careful.
My favorite poison ivy, oak, and sumac product is the spray. You can get a spray that is just like Calamine or Caladryl lotion, but you do not have to rub it onto your poison. You simply spray it on, and it has an instance cooling effect that is heavenly.
In closing, always remember the old saying “Leaves of three, let it be!”