First Aid Tips : How to Treat Poison Oak, Ivy & Sumac

You know working or playing in the outdoors
can be a lot of fun, and exciting times except when injury occurs. I’m Captain Joe Bruni.
What I want to talk about is how to treat an exposure to poison Sumac, poison Ivy or
poison Oak. Poison Ivy, Sumac, or Oak will leave some type of oil on the skin after contact
with these types of plants. You must take care in not spreading the oil around. Do not
touch your face or other parts of your body, especially the eyes. Flush the area with cool,
running water for approximately fifteen minutes. Do not scrub or do not rub the area, as this
will spread the oil around. Just allow the flushing water to do its work. After fifteen
minutes of flushing, take some type of hydro-cortisone cream and apply it to the area. After the
hydro-cortisone cream, Aloe Vera gel can be used to help reduce itching and the oil from
moving around. For the next few days, the itching will become intense. You do not want
to scratch the area as this may invite infection. Do not take long baths. If any oil is left
on the skin, it will float on the bath water and expose other parts of the body. Long,
cool to hot showers is recommended, making the water go from cool to hot and back to
cool. This will provide temporary relief from the itching. In a period of time, the itching
will subside as the skin heals. The key to these types of plant exposures, again, is
not to spread the oils around.


  1. I do not belive that running cold water will wash away ivy oil from the skin. If it is oil based you should use some type of solvent to break it down. like Dawn soap or palmolive. do this several times and you will not spread the oil. the trick is to get it off quick.

  2. @Rodstewartrocks

    Is Dial soap ok to use? It was suggested by a pharmacist at Walgreens I inquired about. Dishwashing okay to use?

  3. Hi my name is Nick i was thinking of being a firefighter after my high school year is over could you give me some tips? (i like in Canada)

  4. two late the oil is already spread fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuu aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa so itchy
    just want to scratch soooooooooooo bad

  5. Just to be clear…this is about a known immediate exposure and immediate treatment to the best of my knowledge. The "oil" mentioned, is the oil from the plant, not any oily appearances that normally occur days later. The urushiol from the plant is what causes it. Usually within 15 minutes of contact, the urushiol binds to skin proteins. If it is washed off with soap and water before that time, a reaction may be prevented. Unfortunately most people don't know they got it until days later. By then it cannot be spread. Best cure…Cave Water. Underground lime and natural minerals found in cave water can clear ivy and sumac in days. 2nd best…Calamine. But i leave it open to dry a bit …so it almost becomes a paste. Just seems easier to deal with, and less messy  especially for sleeping.

  6. Calamine lotion will help it clear up faster, and ive heard of people using hand sanitizer or anything that dries out the skin although im not sure. A lot of people keep it wrapped to reduce spreading but you need to keep it unwrapped so it can dry out faster. Best way to reduce itching for me is to coat it with icy hot, yes it sounds weird but it works.

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