The botanical name of poison ivy is Toxicodendron radicans; this plant is commonly seen in most part of the US. Exposure to the sap of this plant can trigger an allergic condition; this is due to the presence of a type of oil known as urushiol in its sap. In more than 3/4th of those who got exposed to this sap, rashes are likely to show up in less than 36 hours’ time. This sap can cause such allergic rashes when you get exposed indirectly as well – say, onto their shoes, clothing, pets, gardening equipment, etc. So, what is the best way to treat poison ivy rash? It becomes important to know more on this front.

Exposure to poison ivy causes a kind of dermatitis; this condition is broadly classified as contact-dermatitis. The typical signs of this skin condition are itchiness, discoloration of skin, inflammation, formation of blisters (which are often painful), rashes that may show up as reddish and thinner lines. Of the above signs, rashes occur when you come in direct touch with the leaves of this plant.

You may find these rashes to form on the surface of skin that came in direct contact with the sap of poison ivy. But, the rashes may spread out when your pets (after being exposed) rub their fur onto your skin. Rashes may also spread rapidly when you come in contact with clippings off your lawn – especially, while you are cleaning your mower machine or rubbish bag.

What is the best option to treat such rashes?

In most instances, rashes caused by poison ivy do not need a physician. But, rashes that are spreading widely may need medications such as corticosteroids. In some one-off cases, you may witness microbial infections – chiefly, those caused by bacterial strands. In such cases, your caregiver may prescribe a suitable antibiotic med.

Corticosteroids are commonly used when more than 9% of your skin is covered by rashes; such steroids are also used when organs such as genitals, limbs or face develop rashes. Among corticosteroids prescribed for oral administration, prednisone is a commonly used med. You are however advised to use this drug only for a lesser timeline / shorter duration. Those who used such steroids for long may experience added risks of infections, ulcers / internal bruises, thinning down of skin, altered bone health, etc.

Your caregiving team may prescribe topical corticosteroids such as betamethasone; these can decrease spells of itchiness as well as reddening of skin. In this milieu, a few forms of hydrocortisone are also used as an over the counter option. However, such drugs are not as effective as prescription meds. You are hence advised to use these meds strictly as per the treatment plan of your physician.

In some severe cases of skin rashes, injections are prescribed; these forms of steroids are considered when you cannot consume oral formulations.

More details pertaining to poison ivy rash

It is highly recommended to wash the areas exposed to poison ivy; this action is suggested soon after an exposure. You are soon consume an over the counter anti-allergic drug such as an antihistamine; it can also be helpful to use a calamine cream / lotion. Calamine cream is known to arrest itchiness.

Applying a wet compress or a cool cloth on areas where itching is more pronounced is also a safe practice. A few home remedies like apple-cider or aloe vera are a few other approaches available to treat itchiness / rashes caused by an exposure to poison ivy.

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