We all know that we should wear sunscreen, hats and stay out of the sun to avoid the most common summer skin problem – sunburn! But sunburns aren’t the only summer skin issue. Rashes from plants can also put a damper on your summer fun.
Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac
All three of these contain an oil called urushiol, which most people are allergic to. Most people come into contact with poison ivy indirectly while gardening, hiking or camping. You can spread the oil wherever you touch your body until the oil is washed off and it can take up to 5 days before symptoms appear. Typically, the skin becomes red, itchy, and swollen and blisters will appear. After a few days, the blisters may become crusty and start to flake off and the rash usually takes one or two weeks to heal. For some people, it can take longer.
Although poison ivy, oak and sumac are hard to identify, here are some tips to help avoid these plants:
• Learn how to identify poison ivy, oak and sumac. Go online and take a look at all the plants. They can be especially tricky because poison ivy looks different in the spring than it does in the fall and winter. There are also different varieties.
• Avoid areas where you know there’s poison ivy.
• Wear long sleeves and long pants when in areas where poison ivy might grow.
• If your dog has been out exploring the woods, give him a bath to wash off any urushiol oil that may be on his coat. It can spread to you and your family.
• If you come into contact with urushiol oil, wash it off your skin right away by taking a shower and using lots of soap.
If you have developed a rash from any of these plants, here are some natural things you can do to help ease the discomfort and pain.
• Oatmeal bath: Grind 1 cup of oatmeal in your blender until it’s a fine powder, then pour it into a piece of cheesecloth. Knot the material, and tie it around the faucet of your bathtub so the bag is suspended under the running water. Fill the tub with lukewarm water and soak in it for 30 minutes. You may find that applying the oatmeal pouch directly to the rash gives you even more relief.
• Baking soda: Baking soda is especially soothing if you have blisters. Mix 3 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon water and apply the paste to the affected areas. You can even soak in a cool bath with a cup of baking soda mixed in to get some relief.
• Homeopathy: Rhus tox can help prevent rashes from these plants ,but can also help ease symptoms.
• If natural remedies have not improved any symptoms, please consult with your primary care practitioner especially in children.
Photo from here, with thanks.