Health Tip: Manage Poison Ivy Rash

(HealthDay News) -- If you've been near or touched poison ivy, you may develop an itchy, blistering rash within 12 to 72 hours.

Most everyone reacts to an oil in the poison ivy plant called urushiol. The rash typically goes away on its own in a few weeks, but some people have a more serious reaction that requires a trip to the doctor's or even to the emergency room.

For most of us, the American Academy of Dermatology offers these suggestions for managing a poison ivy rash:

  • Wash your clothing. The oil can adhere to clothing, causing the rash to spread.
  • Wash anything that may have come in contact with the oil.
  • Do not scratch, which can trigger an infection.
  • Take short, lukewarm soapy baths to help fight the itch.
  • Apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to the rash.
  • After consulting your doctor, take a recommended antihistamine.
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