How Long Does Poison Ivy Last?

Updated on July 08, 2010
A.C. asks from Charleston, WV
12 answers

I recently got poison ivy for the first time in my life and I was wondering how long it usually lasts. Tomorrow it will be 2 weeks and Im miserable. My dermotologist gave me some cream called clobetasol and its taken down some of the swelling but not the itch and I have been putting jewel weed on it as a natural remedy. I can not take predinosone I have issues with it. I go to the beach in 11 days and I want my legs to look decent again not red and scaly and splotchy like they do right now.

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answers from Chicago on

I am very allergic and the only thing that has helped me has been a steroid - like prednisone. Can you take any other kind of steroid? I suffered with it for weeks and NOTHING helped me. I took the steroid and was itch-free in a day. Sorry you are going through this. It is awful.

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answers from Tampa on

Hard to say, everyone is different. You didn't say what your issue was with the prednisone; if it was a side effect, there are ways to manage it. If you have specific questions, I am a pharmacist, so I will try to answer them, just send me a personal message.

If you won't consider the oral steroids at all, then the clobetasol is one of the best steroid creams out there, but you really shouldn't use that for more than 2 weeks without a break. Taking antihistamines can help, since it is an allergic reaction. If you get sleepy from Benadryl, try Zyrtec, it's once a day and less sedating. Good luck, I have had poison ivy and other types of "poison" reactions, and there are horrible!

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answers from Philadelphia on

It sounds like you are allergic to it. My brother is allergic also. Predinsone is usually the best thing to help get rid of it. I would get some domesboro(sp?) solution which they sell over the counter. It is something to soak the infected areas in. I would also try some bendryl orally and see if they helps with the itching. If it makes you sleepy take some before yo go to sleep. I am sorry you are miserable,

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answers from Portland on

My husband works outside a lot and is terribly sensitive to poison oak. He uses a cleaner called Tecnu, which removes surface contamination even after a rash is involved, everything heals faster. I don't think you can use it on weeping wounds, but just about anyplace else, this stuff works. Info here:

A great natural alternative to cortisone is a cream called Florasone, available in health food stores. For me, it quells just about any kind of itch within 10 minutes, and I'm a very itchy person.

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answers from Norfolk on

It varies from person to person. Since this is your first exposure, hopefully your recovery will be sooner than later. For me, the reaction will not stop on it's own. My record was 2 1/2 months before I went to the doctor and by then I was scratching my legs bloody in my sleep. A prednisone steroid series was/is the only thing that will stop it for me. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't take it.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I had poison ivy a few years ago - also my first time - and it lasted 3-4 weeks. I used a clear calomine lotin that provided a little relief. My doc also gave me an over the counter cream but I don't recal lthe name. I think it was a topical steroid though. As far as stopping the itch, cold compresses worked best for me. Best wishes to you.

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answers from Knoxville on

Hi A.,
My husband gets poison ivy pretty bad when he gets into it - he pours rubbing alcohol on it and it dries it up and helps it to clear up quickly. Hope that helps!

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answers from Lexington on

Have you tried OTC Zanfel? It usually takes two to three showers for me, and probably would for you since yours is so bad but It's the only thing that I've found that works for me.... Make sure you're doing your laundry with disposable gloves on and with as hot as possible a wash cycle! Also I usually use a colour safe bleach when handling poison ivy clothes.

Good luck!!

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answers from Asheville on

I am extremely allergic to poison ivy/oak. I've never had it for two weeks though. I recommend you get a product called Tecnu. I buy mine at Walgreens. I used it and my rash cleared in two days. Make sure to get the original skin cleanser, not the scrub. Hope it helps.

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answers from Saginaw on

Hi A.,
I wish you were next door - I would bring you some of a supplement I use - It heals skin conditions very effectively and quickly when used topically. It's a great supplement for the whole family - if you'd like me to send you some info about it, send me an email address, OK?

In the meantime, my husband's concoction dries it up pretty well,
He uses 50-50% of hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol.
Pour it over, then he sort of scratches it with a comb, and pours it over again.

Hope that helps! Enjoy the beach!

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answers from Greensboro on

I've seen it last up to a month. Use benadryl for you misery and rub aloe vera on your skin. If it's super bad do an oatmeal bath to help with itching. Also, you want to be sure and wash your sheets, blankets, and pillow cases every day so that you don't get reinfected. My son had it and I spoke in detail with a pharamacist. We were on our way out of town and he's poison ivy came out from the day before. It was so strange it would go away and then reappear. It was something I don't wish on anyone!



answers from Jacksonville on

the salt water from the beach will help with the inching and make it go away faster.