37 answers

How to soothe pain or remedy poison ivy?

Hello moms! I was wondering if anyone has any helpful tips on dealing with poison ivy? I woke up yesterday with it and it is spreading like wildfire on me. I have a doctors appt today, but I need some relief!!! Thanks in advance!

What can I do next?


There are many different home remedies that moms suggested, please refer to the article for more inputs. But you're best to consult a doctor right away.

So What Happened?™

I am so grateful for such good advice from everyone! I did try some of the remedies and went to my family doctor and got a steroid shot, but that didn't seem to work and I woke up worse yesterday. My mom brought me some more topical things to try last night and as soon as she saw me she took me to the Emergency Room because I was so red and swollen and was having some trouble swallowing. The doctor said it was the second worse case he'd ever seen and gave me a Benadryl shot and another Cortisone shot, which seemed to help right away. He also put me on the steroid stepdown pill. I must say that this morning, even though I still look a mess, I feel so much relief! The swelling is down and the itch is not nearly as bad. I am still using the IvyDry and Caladryl and am hopefully on the downslope of this horrible experience. I want to thank everyone that responded for you support and advice! Mamasource is definitely a great resource!!

Featured Answers

Oatmeal baths help soothe .. but Calamine lotion/creams. Unless you get a prescription from the dr. I know my oldest daughter gets it really bad and she loves the oatmeal baths.

Ivy-Dry Extra Strength Super Itch Relief Spray

It's the best stuff we've found. Available at most drug stores.

Good luck!


I feel for you. I am allergic to poison ivy also. I've been treating my break-out this week. I use IVAREST. You can buy it over the counter. It is made by the Blistex Company. It gives immediate relief from the itching and helps the rash heal faster. It has calamine in it that helps dry up the blisters. Honestly, it really works! AF

More Answers

IVY DRY is the best treatment we have found. My brother-in-law is so allergic that if he just happens to be in the vicinity (not actually touching it), he breaks out. He swears by it and it is available in both cream and liquid (regular and extra strength in both forms). It works for him and for my son too. In addition to immediate relief once you have poision ivy (or others), he also uses it as a preventative if he may come in contact. He rubs it on BEFORE he goes in the woods to hunt, then immediately after showering once he returns.

Hi S.. You poor thing! My husband is suffering from the same right now and he uses Ivarest. If it gets really bad (I used to be allergic when I was a kid and it would spread to my tongue, throat, eyes) - you can get a prescription from a doctor. I used to also do the tub soak with oatmeal bath for itchy skin rashes - by Aveeno I believe.

For immediate relief, like on fingers or arm - I used to run it under extremely hot water - - burns so good and then the itch is gone for awhile. Works with a hairdryer as well - by you have to be careful not to scorch hair!

Good luck!

Hi S.,
Hope you have been to the doctor by now and have gotten some relief. A powder you can buy over the counter called Domeboro can be used as a soak or compress, and helps with the itching and inflammation. Benadryl will help you sleep through the itching. Your doctor might need to give you an oral and/or topical steroid especially if you have sensitive skin or excema. Good luck -- poison ivy rash is miserable!!

i found rubbing alcohol to be wonderfully relieving. i've been pregnant or breast feeding since 2005, essentially, and live on 3 and 1/2 acres. so i've had poison ivy several times but was unable to take any medication to clear it up. the alcohol is very soothing and cooling. i just kept cotton balls and a large bottle of the alcohol w/ me and rubbed it on as often as i needed. the doctor can give you a shot or a pill (steroid, i think). my husband has had to do both at different times. the shot was super fast but both worked well. hope that helps!

Crush up a Benadryl tablet(you can also open a caplet and pour the powder) and mix it with hydrocortizone cream. Topically the Benadryl won't make you drowsy. "Hyland's" makes a dissolvable tablet for poison ivy/oak. You can get it at any herbal store, it has virtually no taste and works within the first couple doses to stop the itch and dry up the rash. The joys of the great outdoors, good luck!

Aveeno Oatmeal baths daily and their anti-itch cream directly on the spots has helped me in the past. Taking an antihistamine orallly can also help speed up the process of healing. Wear cotton lounge pants at night to help the itching by putting a barrier between the legs (from sliding together). Cotton gauze wraps can also help, if you have a tendency to see it and scatch it. Try not to scratch the bumps, it will get the poison under your nails and help spread it to other areas. Letting the sun bake the spots helps with the drying up of them, however they may itch a bit because of sweat getting on them. Good luck with your healing, it usually only last about a week to two weeks.

You have received lots of great rememdies, one I found helpful was Buji. Also, wash everything you have worn including shoes. I got it once on the back of my legs from the dog laying on the sofa, two other possible sources of spreading. Good luck.

I've been plagued by poison ivy this summer and have found that if I take a non-drowsy product, (I use Alavert) it relieves the itching for many hours. Try Technu for washing the area/s, a product that can be purchased at any drug store. I also put ice in a ziploc bag and hold it on the affected area, as the cold really helps. Anything hot will sting and increase the discomfort. It takes FOREVER for this to clear up, but know that you are not suffering alone. BTW, new spots can appear for up to 14 days after your exposure. Bummer, I know.

There is a very simple remedy that will begin giving relief quickly. I have seen it begin to dry the blisters within hours. It is Jewel Weed or Touch Me Not. It is a wild flower that usually is found in wet areas. The stem is translucent, the leaves turn silver under water (Jewel), and the seed pods explode when touched (Touch Me Not). The flower is orange. You take the leaves and stems, place them in water, and bring to a boil. Simmer them until the water in pan turns yellow/orange. Strain liquid through cheesecloth or even a paper towel to remove plant material. Cool liquid. Apply with cotton ball to affected areas. My parents grow this plant in their flowerbeds. Usually a couple of times a summer they have someone stop and ask for 'some of that plant for poison ivy!'

Ivy-Dry Extra Strength Super Itch Relief Spray

It's the best stuff we've found. Available at most drug stores.

Good luck!


I also use the Aveeno oatmeal baths...but also CUT YOUR FINGERNAILS! The oil from the plant is most likely under them and you could break out again in a week or so when your nails grow out. I used to get it twice every time, and now I cut my nails, and wash my hands and clippers right away and may get a few bumps, but not all over my body the second time anymore.

Wash everything you have worn or touched since you began itching - that's why it's spreading because you are spreading the oils into the fabrics.

Secondly soaking in oatmeal bath is helpful. Chances are if it's getting worse the only way to stop it is with medication from the doctor.

Oatmeal baths help soothe .. but Calamine lotion/creams. Unless you get a prescription from the dr. I know my oldest daughter gets it really bad and she loves the oatmeal baths.

I swear by IvyRest. If your doctor prescribes steroids, then it'll be gone very soon. I hope you feel relief very soon.

I feel for you. I am allergic to poison ivy also. I've been treating my break-out this week. I use IVAREST. You can buy it over the counter. It is made by the Blistex Company. It gives immediate relief from the itching and helps the rash heal faster. It has calamine in it that helps dry up the blisters. Honestly, it really works! AF

Try peppermint essential oil. I have used it and found great relief with it. (I am highly allergic to poison ivy) Good luck to you!

I'd like to add a (third?) recommendation for Tecnu- It works!! I have a ton of poison ivy in my yard, and I get a rash very quickly- this stops it. If you KNOW you've been in poison ivy, rub this on within 2-8 hours of contact, if you miss that window, you can also apply it when you first see the rash, and it stops it then too!! Amazing. Also works to "disinfect" your clothing and any garden tools you might have been using at the time of exposure also. The oils can hang around for a very long time, so you want to be sure you've gotten rid of any oil on anything you were touching at the time of exposure. Good Luck. Also Benedryl can help the itchy-ness in the meantime, but be prepared to take a nice nap. :)


did you take some Benadryl (or generic equivalent)? THis slows down the allergic response.
Also caladryl or ziradryl lotion is great.

If you can find it, there's this stuff called TecNu that's amazing; it unlocks the oils from your skin. The directions are for it to be used before the rash breaks out, but I've used it after and rinsed with warm water(directions say cold) and it really helps the itching. Also the benedryl gel works better than calamine. If the rash is oozing, do NOT get take a bath, you'll just spread it.

I have several tips. All of them are non pharmaceutical.
Every poinsonous plant has the antidote plant that grows next to it. Jewelweed is the antidote for poison ivy. I have ice cubes that I made with fresh jewelweed. If you are interested in using them, contact me directly and I will be more than happy to give you directions. There is also a great blood cleanser lyphatic tea that works great! The homeopathic remedy is rhus tox. I have that single remedy and also have a great combination remedy that has it mixed with other things.
Feel free to contact me if you want more info. I'd avoid the steroids if you can . The natural remedies do work.
Again, contact me if you want more info or have questions.

Hi, S.. The old-timey remedy is to put a SMALL amount of clorox bleach in some bath water and bathe in it.

I know this sounds crazy, but the last time my husband had it, he was washing his hands with Dawn liquid dishwashing soap-the antibacterial kind-and it cleared up in just a few days. I hope this helps.

Hi S., back in the day we used to get some baking soda and put water in it to make a paste. Then we will put that paste on the poison ivy. But be careful cause I just recently heard that poison ivy was too friendly with people these days. Praying for your relief!! Don't scratch!!!!

Hi, S. - You poor thing! Do you by any chance have any friends who use Melaleuca products? Showering with the Gold Bar would help, and using Dermacort would also be beneficial. Good luck! N. B.

I used to get it so bad, all over my face in my nose covering my whole body, fun! Every time I would get a steroid shot from the doctor and the hydrocortisone you can get over the counter was a help as well. I would take cook showers and lay in front of a fan. Another help is if you take an oatmeal bath that will help dry it up. Try not to scratch, it won't make it spread but it can leave scars.

Eat lots of bananas. Oatmeal baths and cortzone. That's the best treatment. Get better soon!

J. Z.
Independent Shaklee Distributor

Hi S.,

Nature has an antidote and it's called Jewelweed. It's a plant from the impatien family.


If you can find the real thing (it's often found near poison ivy & oak, just rub it to neutralize the oils. If not, you can usually find products with it at health food stores. I found a spray by Herbs that works really well.

Cortisone shots are the typical treatment if you go to the doctor but it's got long term negative effects, so best to avoid if possible.

Good luck!


Make Aveeno your new friend. Ivy Dry is also wonderful.

I am very allergic to poison ivy/oak/sumac, so even the smallest bit will send me to the doctor. The other thing you can take is a Benadryl tablet until you see your doctor. Try not to scratch and keep the rash loosely covered. It can spread to whomever you touch.

its called TECNU you can get it at rite aid---awesome

Caladryl - dries it up almost immediately! Its cheap, comes in a pink bottle and its a bit messy, but well worth it!!

what about an oatmeal bath just for comfort until you can get something from the doctor

Hopefully you will get a shot of steroids, and an antibiotic if infection has set in. I usually get a very severe case when I am exposed. During my last visit to the Doctor he told me instead of taking benedryl, to take Zyrtec. The itching stopped right away. Make sure that you wash EVERYTHING that was exposed including your shoes, sheets, EVERYTHING, because the second time around is just as painful. I hope that this is short lived, don't scratch!!!!!

Make sure it actually is poison ivy- chances are it could be poison sumac(hairy root that grows up trees and such). Sumac will SPREAD if you are scratching the oils around worse. Good luck at the doctor, they might give you a steroid pack- look out-you may eat everything in sight! Then do your homework to avoid the plant all together in the future. I am highly allergic and once I seriously schooled myself on all plants poison, my incident rate dropped dramatically.

I have heard of everything everyone has mentioned and they are all supposed to work. My son just got poison ivy last year and I went out and bought Cortaid Poison ivy care. This was wonderful. There is 3 bottles if I remember correctly all of which work towards easing your pain. Good Luck!

Hi: THis sounds weird, but my doctor is the one that told me to do this because he did (he used to live in the "country" and so got poison ivy often). Use a small amount of bleach mixed with water and a clean, white cloth. The beach will dry-up the "poison", it will stop itching and spreading. Again, this is recommended (and done by) my fabulous doctor - Damien Alagia. Good luck!

When my son had it a few months ago, his doctor recommended Benadryl cream and hydrocortizone cream. She said that alternating these would help with the itching. She also had him wearing long sleeves and long pants (which he hated cause it was summer and really hot outside) to cover it and keep it from spreading to others.

There used to be a product called Rhus-tox that was wonderful. It was something you could take to get rid of poison ivy symptoms, but you could also take it throughout the summer to prevent getting it.

I'm not sure it is still available, but you may want to ask a pharmacist or check online.

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