Poison ivy rash occurs when the plant toxin urushiol, comes into contact with human skin.
It is worth mentioning that this is one of the deadliest natural poisons on the planet.
Poison ivy is often characterized with swelling, pain, blisters, and just an extremely big amount of itching.
You might also experience fever, and red bumps.
The appearance of the symptoms can last between few hours, and up to ten days after the initial contact with the plant.
With that in mind, we should talk about remedies for poison ivy.
One of those remedies is using apple cider vinegar.
The rash can spread rapidly during the first three days, especially if you scratch the affected area.
And even though it is usually a mild condition, poison ivy can actually cause great suffering if left untreated.
The good news is that nature has provided many natural remedies for the condition.
We will talk mostly about how apple cider vinegar works but mention some others as well.
What causes poison ivy
As mentioned previously, poison ivy occurs when you come in contact with poison ivy plants https://www.medicinenet.com/poison_ivy_oak_and_sumac/article.htm.
Exposure to poison ivy plants will result in nasty rash.
The cause of the rash is our body’s sensitivity to urushiol.
It is a resin present in the poison ivy plant, including the leaves, flowers, stems, and roots of the plant.
This substance is one of the deadliest toxins in the world.
The powerful substance, urushiol, stays active even after the death of the plant https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urushiol-induced_contact_dermatitis.
You do not need to be exposed to much of it in order to suffer the consequences.
Just an exposure to a tiny amount equivalent to a grain of salt can cause the rash.
Of course, touching the plant is an obvious way of exposure.
However, that is not the only way you can get exposure to urushiol and the poison ivy plant.
Rash can be caused by indirect contact, such as contaminated pet fur, appliances, surfaces, and clothing.
You can also be exposed to contact with airborne substances, which happens when the poison ivy plants are burned.
It is worth noting that initial exposure does not always result in a rash.
Sensitivity develops with repeated exposure.
According to some estimates, 85% of people develop sensitivity to the plant http://www.americanskin.org/resource/poisonivy.php.
The remaining 15% are fortunate enough not to develop a reaction.
There are also risk factors, like living in areas where the plant grows.
People living in areas where the plants grow are at a much greater risk.
Same for those work outdoors in those areas like construction workers, farmers, and gardeners.
Hikers who venture into areas where poison ivy grows are also at a higher risk of exposure.
The symptoms usually develop in as few as 12 hours, to a maximum of 72 hours of exposure.
Here is the full list of the symptoms:
- Skin redness
- Blistering of the skin
- And in very rare cases, anaphylactic reactions can happen
How to use apple cider vinegar
You can easily test how apple cider vinegar works with other home remedies for poison ivy.
For example, try to test it against calamine lotion, a medication used for mild itchiness.
Try to put apple cider vinegar on left arm, and calamine on the right.
What you’ll notice is that when apple cider vinegar dries, and as the initial burning subsides, the itching is gone.
When you apply apple cider vinegar, it is best to apply by dabbing.
The preferred method is dabbing, not brushing because dabbing protects you against popping rash bubbles.
These bubbles take longer to heal.
Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and much more properties https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29224370.
It is those properties that make apple cider vinegar a great remedy for poison ivy.
Remember, when you apply vinegar on your arm, you will notice initial burning sensation.
That sensation will last for few moments, as the vinegar is doing its magic.
Be careful not to break bubbles with scratching, because the sting of vinegar will intensify a little with the broken skin.
One thing to note, the more you apply apple cider vinegar, the faster the poison ivy dries.
Keep a small cap full of vinegar near your workstation.
Every few minutes, dip a cotton tip into the vinegar and dab it onto the rash.
Let the vinegar completely dry, and then dab more vinegar.
As the rash begins to dry, you can also start using your fingers, which is a faster method of applying apple cider vinegar.
As the rash dries, it becomes less tender and itches less.
It is worth noting that with apple cider vinegar for poison ivy, the rule “less is more” applies.
That means that you should not apply too much vinegar.
If you apply large amounts of apple cider vinegar, you will actually delay the drying and extend the stinging.
Small amounts of ACV provide the same drying effect, so do not apply too much of it.
Other remedies for poison ivy
As mentioned previously, apple cider vinegar is not the only remedy for poison ivy.
Let’s talk some other remedies you can use.
You can find baking soda in almost every kitchen.
To relieve itching, you need to mix ½ cup of baking soda in a bathtub filled with warm water.
Go into the bath, and you will go out with the itching gone.
Another method is mixing 3 teaspoons of baking soda and one teaspoon of water.
Apply the paste on the infected area and the irritation and itchiness will be gone.
Another paste you can prepare is with oatmeal.
Cook a small amount of oatmeal, and then apply to the skin as a paste.
Cook it very thick so that the paste sticks to your skin.
Do not apply when the oatmeal is too hot, as you can further burn the skin.
The gel of aloe vera is very popular in the cosmetic world.
You can use it directly on the infected area.
You can buy aloe vera gel from almost every health-food store, or you can buy a plant and use the gel from the inner flesh of the leaves.
Himalayan Crystal Salt
Salt is a great natural remedy for your skin, as it is drying the skin, and will pull both excess water and poison from the body.
Mix Himalayan salt with purified water to create a paste, and apply on the infected area.
You can also put Himalayan salt into your bathtub and soak for 20 minutes.
This is an old-wives tale, but it swears by the power of a banana peel.
All you have to do is rub the inside of the banana on the affected area.
References [ + ]