Re: again, why now?
|What is the treatment for poison ivy?
Once the sap gets on the skin it soaks in quickly. Washing with soap and cool water within 10 or 20 minutes of exposure may prevent the rash, but washing within an hour of exposure can reduce the seriousness of the rash that follows. After an hour or two the sap soaks in completely and can no longer be released from the skin. The sap can be carried on clothing, shoes, tools and pets for weeks and still cause a rash if touched. Soap and water washing of these items is an important step in getting rid of the sap. The rash appears in one or two days, but may start as early as six hours or as much as two weeks after exposure.
The rash cannot be spread by scratching or by the blister fluid. It usually heals within two or three weeks. Broken blisters can become infected like any other open wound, and should be well cared for. An antibiotic ointment and band aids may be used. The rash will itch and swell more with a hot shower, whirlpool, or sauna, so cool baths or showers will be more comfortable. Over the counter medications such as calamine lotion, Burow's solution soaks and hydrocortisone cream might produce some relief. If you are not able to obtain relief using these suggestions you may want to see a health care provider for further assessment.
Unfortunately, "shots" of poison ivy sap are not of much help in preventing poison ivy. Some "barrier creams" (such as Stokogard) can be effective in preventing or slowing the absorption of the poison ivy sap into the skin, but soap and water washing is still required as soon as practical after exposure. Still, knowledge and avoidance of the plant are the best for prevention.