"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
Poison ivy has three leaflets per stem. That’s where the saying , "Leaflets three, let
them be" , comes from. The leafs are not symmetric to each other so it is easy to be
distinguished out of a group. The Poison Ivy plant also likes to grow on and up trees or
rapped around inside bushes. The plant itself is hard to kill and if not completely dead, it
will grow back.
Treating the rash
The best cure for healing poison ivy is to mix Epson salt in water and stir until the
salt dissolves. The higher the ratio of salt to water, up until about 2 tablespoons of salt per
cup (beyond that its overkill),the quicker it will leave. Use a paper towel to sponge the salt
water on the poison ivy area and as far away as 2 inches from the area. If necessary apply
this to open blisters too, it will dry them out fast. Let the water dry on the area, leaving a
salt dust covering. If you must bandage, bandage areas with a "Epson salt cured" paper
towel or gauze pads. Soak thick paper towels in the same Epson salt mix and hang the
towels to dry, and use the dried towels as bandages. Of course, the best thing it so allow
the area to be exposed to air unbandaged, but sometimes its required. Do not use Caradryl
or “Rhuhi Gel”. Caradryl is much the same, except it doesn’t have the alcohol of "Rhuhi
Gel", which actually can cause discomfort if you apply it to an open sore. Calamine lotion
works, but not as fast as Epson Salt, plus calamoine makes the area itch more.
The truth about Itching.
Itching will cause Poison ivy to spread only during the early stages of exposure.
Poison Ivy's "active ingredient" is urushiol, its found in the sap of poison ivy. Urushiol is
sticky and it will spread by contact. If you get in on your arm and your shirt sleeve, wiping
your face with your shirt sleeve will move to some of the urushiol to your face. While the
urushiol is on the surface of your body, itching will transfer the urushiol to other parts of
your body. Once the urushiol moves under your skin, the damage is done, it will spread
throughout your blood stream and area where it was originally exposed. When it erupts
back to the surface, what you is actually happening is your body is compacting the urushiol
by creating electrolyte to flush the urushiol up and out of your body. This forms blisters,
the liquid in these blisters is electrolyte not Poison Ivy's urushiol. There is some urushiol in
the liquid but its small in size compared to the amount of electrolytes around it. It is
possible to pop these blisters with a sterile needle, to soak up the electrolytes, and treat it
with cold salt water. But do with caution, this does risk infection when it is done. A sign
of infection is white pus around the open sore. You should see a doctor at this point. You
will probably get a prescription for some kind of antibiotic, and maybe be asked to take a
days rest. It does dry the poison ivy faster . Popping these blisters does not make the rash
spread if you soak up the electrolytes and run cold water, or epson salt water over the
area. A doctor should be seen if rash increases or does not go away.
Poison ivy can leave scaring if it is severe enough. Sensitivity to the poison ivy
can increase after breaking out in a severe rash. there really are no long term effects from
poison ivy, but the short term effects hurt.
View Full Essay