Poison Ivy and Oak Treatment
Listen to the Camp Nurse
“When the kids get poison ivy, I make a mixture of Domeboro and water and apply it to the rash with gauze pads,” reports Tricia Barr, R.N., a nurse at Camp Walt Whitman in Pike, New Hampshire. Domeboro is an over-the-counter astringent that comes in tablet or powder form. “It’s a good drying agent,” Barr says.
This Weed Is a Jewel
Corinne Martin, a certified clinical herbalist in Bridgton, Maine, likes to use jewelweed to soothe a poison ivy rash. A common plant found throughout the Northeast, jewelweed has a watery stem that contains juice good for stopping the itch. You can collect it inmeadows during late summer. “Just crush the stems in your hands and rub the juice right on the rash,”Martin says. She notes that Euell Gibbons, the famous natural food and remedy author, would process jewelweed stems and water in a blender and freeze the mixture in ice cube trays. “Jewelweed ice cubes are great against an itch because of the combination of the jewelweed and the cold,” Martin says.
Use the Ocean as a Lotion
Peter Brassard,M.D., a family doctor on Block Island, Rhode Island, says that a good sea bath can work. “Just the act of wading in the ocean will wash your sores,” he says. “And the salt water will help dry them out.”
Make Your Own Salty Sea
“Epsom salts dry things out,” Dr. Zug says. “They are especially good for poison ivy and other oozy dermatitis. Just follow the directions on the box and sprinkle some into a lukewarm bath.” You can get Epsom salts at your pharmacy or supermarket.
Feel Your Oats
“If you have itchy skin, try taking an oatmeal bath,” says Donald Dickson, R.Ph., the owner of Dickson’s Pharmacy in Colebrook, New Hampshire. Colloidal oatmeal, such as Aveeno, is made for bathing. You can buy Aveeno over the counter.
A Plant Man Picks Tecnu
As a botanist, Dr. Eshbaugh has spent years getting up close and personal with itch-causing plants. His favorite remedy? Tecnu Oak-n-Ivy, available over the counter at drugstores. “Tecnu works on anything in the Anacardiaceae family—the
family poison ivy and oak belong to,” Dr. Eshbaugh says. “You can wash with Tecnu immediately after contact with poison ivy, or you can put it on before you go out into the field. You can even use it after you have already broken out with a rash. Each way seems to work.”
Pump Up with Steroids
If other home remedies fail, a good fallback is a steroid such as over-the-counter 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, Dr. Brassard says.
Excerpt from Home Remedies from a Country Doctor brought to you by Skyhorse Publishing