Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy & Oak


| 6/7/2017 11:00:00 AM


If you’ve been in or around the woods at all, you’ve probably heard the saying “leaves of three, let it be.” Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, even for those allergic to poison ivy, it can be a bit more difficult than that to avoid breaking out in an unbearably itchy rash.

Being on the lookout for “leaves of three” is a great starting point, but what many of us aren’t taught is that poison ivy, oak and sumac all contain the same oil—urushiol—which, for some, can cause an allergic reaction when it binds to the skin and that fact can increase the odds of coming into contact with something bothersome.

poison ivy and poison oak leaves
Photos (left to right) by AdobeStock/Stuart Monk; AdobeStock/mendogyal.

Where to Find Poison Ivy and Oak

Poison ivy is the most prevalent variety of these plants and can be found throughout most of the United States, excluding California and Hawaii. Poison oak is found throughout California, the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and East coast. Poison sumac also produces urushiol and is found in super-moist, swampy areas along the East, Gulf and Upper Peninsula coasts.

If you know you’ve come in contact with these plants, wash the affected area thoroughly with warm, soapy water as soon as possible to help avoid the resulting rash. Wash all clothing, tools or other personal items that could have come in contact as well, considering that the oil resin can remain active for years, causing future rashes to occur unbeknownst to you. And, in the event that you’ve already developed a rash, you can rest easy knowing there are natural ways to alleviate itching, redness and discomfort.



“Nature provides exceptions to every rule.” –Margaret Fuller



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