Child Care & First Aid : How to Treat Poison Ivy

It was a great walk in the woods until you
realized that you encountered poison ivy along the way. My name is Beverly Bitterman, ARNP,
Health and Wellness Consultant, with some tips and strategies for you. If you know that
you’re allergic to poison ivy, that you break out in a rash from that, and you know you
encountered it in the woods, the first step would be prevention and that would mean washing
yourself as soon as you can with lots of water and some soap to get rid of those poison ivy
leaf oils that are the culprit here. If it’s too late for that, it’s a couple days later
and you’ve already noticed that you’ve got some red bumps on your skin and they’re itchy
and you’re thinking “Oh my, I’ve got poison ivy”, well then here’s some things that you
can do. What you want to do with poison ivy is first of all to keep it clean and dry because
you don’t want to get a secondary infection on top of the allergic response. If the little
bumps are bumps and they’re not oozing and it’s itching you can use a Benadryl cream
on top of it to help with the itching. Once they turn into oozing or the little bumps
break, then you don’t want to use Benadryl cream on that. What you can do then is use
a drying agent. You can mix up some baking powder or oatmeal even with some water and
kind of put that on the spot and see if that will help dry it out. You can take, if the
child or adult is over the age of two or three you can use antihistamines according to the
package directions and that might help the itching. And the other thing, again, is just
to make sure it doesn’t get a secondary infection. So if it’s oozing you may want to cover it
up just to keep it clean and dry and prevent it from getting on your clothing, things like
that, and it’s just one of those things that will go away in due time. If you notice greater
redness around the area like if the redness is spreading, that might indicate an infection
and that would be a reason to make sure you see a healthcare provider. If the itching
is keeping you awake at night there are stronger medicines that can be given and your provider
could make that determination. My name is Beverly Bitterman, ARNP, Health and Wellness
Consultant, and I hope that the rash does go away soon.

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