|Okay, I can't claim to have come up with this remedy as I learned it from extended family up in New Hampshire during my childhood summers near Mount Monadnock.
REGULAR TABLE SALT CURES POISON IVY RASHES.
Moisten the affected area and cover it with lots of regular table salt. Then rub it in (ahhhh, it will feel heavenly) and leave on for as long as possible (overnight is perfect). Not only does this provide instant relief from the itching, but the salt will clear up the rash within a few short days. And yes, by leaving the salt on, you can itch your poison ivy rash, while at the same time you're helping to cure it.
Periodically rinse off the old salt and apply a fresh treatment of it. Be generous with the amount of salt, as you can't over treat it.
All of my family and friends have at one time or another gotten poison ivy. The first thing we do (after a good soapy washing) is to apply & rub in table salt. It works equally as well on mild cases and severe ones.
Swimming in salt water will also have a beneficial effect as long as you don't rinse off with fresh water when you come out. The trick is to keep the salt on the affected area for as long as possible.
Heck, I've got poison ivy right now and am using the salt method. It's workin' like a charm!
Good luck and don't be afraid of getting poison ivy - it's really easy to treat and shouldn't keep you away from the outdoors.