Common misconceptions

Blog Excerpt: Poison ivy rash is a common affliction in children whose school is near open wooded areas or local parks. Here are a few proven remedies.

Myths About Treating Poison Ivy Rash and the Truth

As part of a robust school health program, it’s good to know the correct way to treat poison ivy rash and not waste time trying common misconceptions. The symptoms of the rash are:

• Unbearable itching
• Redness of the affected area
• Bumps or blisters
• Swelling
• Oozing sores

These symptoms may take 24-48 hours to appear, but they can also appear as early as 30 minutes after contact or as late as two weeks. The rash usually takes two to three weeks to clear.

Immediate Action

Poison ivy rash will not go away without treatment. It’s not like a mosquito bite that is gone in a day or two. The rash is caused by urushiol oil that is in the leaves, roots, and stems. This oil can continue to affect the student and others who did not touch the plant.

The first action to take if you know a student has come into contact with the plant is to wash the affected area with kitchen soap and warm water. The clothing should be removed and washed, and if a pet has also touched the plant, it needs to have a soapy bath too.

When to Get Medical Treatment?

Home remedies may be enough to soothe the rash until it goes away, but if any of the following symptoms occur, the student should receive medical attention immediately:

• Fever
• Breathing or swallowing problems
• Rash or swelling around the mouth, eyes, or genitals
• Itching that gets worse even after topical treatments
• Rash covers most of the body

Home Remedies That Are Effective

A common misconception is that antihistamine creams will help. According to Poison Control, these may actually worsen the irritation. Antihistamine tablets may help relieve the itching, however. Some effective home remedies are:

• A cool bath that contains an oatmeal product
• Calamine lotion
• Cool compresses
• Hydrocortisone cream
• Cleaning the affected area with rubbing alcohol or apple cider vinegar as soon as possible

The most important thing to do after an encounter with poison ivy is to wash. This includes washing the affected area, clothing that may have a little oil on it, and even washing the dog.

Disclaimer: The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only. If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis, contact your medical professional.

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