Home Remedies for Poison Ivy Blisters

poison ivy
A poison ivy plant growing in a forest. (Image: norcon/iStock/Getty Images)

Poison ivy is considered a poisonous plant that releases urushiol, an oily substance found on the plant's leaves, stem and even roots. When urushiol comes in contact with human skin, 50 percent of people develop allergic contact dermatitis, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Poison ivy blisters often develop several days after a rash forms on the skin. Blisters may itch and weep fluids from the skin, but will not spread infection or contaminate others. A variety of home remedies may treat poison ivy blisters and reduce symptoms. Contact a medical professional if home remedies do not alleviate symptoms.

Protection

Blisters may open and become prone to infection if constantly scratched, so fingernails should be clipped short to prevent irritating the blisters. Children and even adults may benefit from wearing gloves at night. Loose, moist gauze or other moist bandages protect the blisters from scratching fingers. The bandage will keep the blisters clean and reduce the risk of them becoming infected.

Cold Compresses

Cool water and moist compresses provide itch relief and soften the hard crust formed on blisters and rashes. Paper towels, washcloths or gauze can be transformed into a wet compress. Compresses may be used throughout the day, as often as necessary to give itch relief. A blowing fan directly onto the wet compresses reduces itching and dries weeping blisters. A person may also rub an ice cube directly onto the skin and blister site, allowing the skin to air dry.

Topical Drying Agents

Oatmeal and baking soda mixed with a small amount of water creates a paste that dries the skin and decreases itching. The paste is applied to the skin and allowed to air dry. Both oatmeal and baking soda may also be added to cool, tepid baths for itch relief, according to MayoClinic.com. A common over-the-counter product found in most pharmacies and grocery stores is calamine lotion. The lotion cools and dries oozing poison ivy blisters. MotherNature.com suggests applying the lotion three to four times a day until the skin stops oozing. If used too long, calamine will dry out the skin, causing an increase in itching and skin cracking. Additional drying agents include witch hazel and Burrow’s solution, but they may sting when applied to blistered skin.

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