The poison ivy plant can be found in many parts of the United States; approximately half of the population will have an allergic reaction or develop a rash upon exposure. According to Familydoctor.org, the oil urushiol, which is contained in the leaves of the poison ivy plant, causes the rash and allergic reaction in most people. Fortunately, baking soda is one of the most widely available and cost conscious ways of getting relief from the annoying symptoms of the poison ivy rash.
The symptoms of a poison ivy rash will develop approximately one to two days after exposure. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms can include redness, itching, swelling and blisters. The extent of the symptoms depends on the level of contact that you had with the plant or with personal items that were exposed to urushiol. For example, if your clothing came into contact with the poison ivy plant, you may develop a rash not only where you had direct exposure to the plant, but also on parts of your body that also were in contact with your clothing.
Baking Soda Uses
Baking soda is a chemical compound that has numerous uses for home and personal care. It can be used as an antacid, as a freshener for your refrigerator, as an odor absorber for pet bedding, and even to clean up oil spills from your car. Baking soda is also referred to as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda. It is useful in the treatment of symptoms related to poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.
Using Baking Soda in the Bath
Once you've developed the symptoms of poison ivy, they can last for approximately three weeks. During this time, you will probably be willing to do anything to stop the itching. One of the best ways to relieve itching from poison ivy is to take a warm bath in which you have dissolved a cup of baking soda. Allow the irritated area to soak completely for around 20 minutes to half an hour.
Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda is most commonly used in the treatment of poison ivy as a paste. You can make a paste of three parts baking soda and one part water and apply directly on to areas of the skin affected by poison ivy. You should allow the paste to dry completely and not immediately remove the powder that remains. This should alleviate the symptoms of itching and swelling.
Baking Soda Compress
Baking soda can also be used on a compress. Soak a face cloth, wash cloth or other towel made of gentle fibers in water. Dip the cloth in baking soda and hold over the affected area for immediate relief of symptoms.