Summer is a favorite time of year for outdoor play and adventure. Unfortunately, camping trips and bicycle rides can often lead to nasty cases of poison ivy, oak, and sumac. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the itchy, blistering rash caused by these plants results from an oil called urushiol. The sticky oil is found in the leaves, stems and roots, and easily sticks to skin and clothes.
A poison oak, ivy, or sumac rash is not contagious. It is, however, extremely uncomfortable for the afflicted person. Symptoms include redness, itching, swelling, and blisters. Rashes caused by poison ivy, oak, or sumac typically heal on their own within a few weeks. But why would you patiently suffer through the pain? You can make the rash less irritating and quicken the recovery process by following these 8 home remedies (with products from your kitchen):
1. Turmeric and lemon juice. Natural News swears by the home remedy of mixing equal parts turmeric (get here) and lemon or lime juice (get here). Apply the thick paste to the rash and let it soak in for fifteen minutes. You will likely be amazed by the fast and effective results.
2. Cucumber. You may laugh at the image of a beauty queen relaxing with cucumbers on her eyelids. But cucumbers do in fact have cooling properties. Reader’s Digest recommends placing cucumber slices directly on the rash, or applying mashed cucumber as a sort of paste to the affected area.
3. Baking soda. Reader’s Digest recommends mixing three teaspoons of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of water, and applying the homemade paste to the itchy, blistering area. The solution will dry and flake off. You can also dip gauze pads in a larger quantity of the solution and apply them to the rash for ten minutes, four times daily. Baking soda is available for purchase here.
4. Oatmeal. Oatmeal can help draw out the poisonous serum in blistering rashes. It can also help dry sores and soothe inflammation. To benefit from oatmeal, The Wall Street Journal recommends pouring oats in a bath and taking a soak, or using oats as a compress applied directly to the rash.