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poison ivy



Your Anti-Itch Outdoor Survival Guide

Growing up in the middle of nowhere, I consider myself a lover of the outdoors. I enjoyed canoeing, fishing, hiking, and exploring Mother Nature.  With the economy on a downturn, people are going from pricey gym memberships to exercising at parks, hiking and maybe planking on the nearest boulder. Because of this, the most common summer question asked by my patients is how they can stop the itching that is driving them crazy.

Let’s take a step back. How can you prevent the itching in the first place? Here’s the trifecta; the most common things you may run into if you are exercising outside and how to avoid the irritants.

Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac

The best way to avoid poison ivy is to be able to recognize it. It can grow on vines, bushes or be a plant on the ground, and usually has a 3-leaf structure. The oil that causes that itchy, allergic reaction is called urushiol and if you come into contact with it, first thing’s first: wash everything. Rinse your body, clothes, and anything else the urushiol may have touched.

Calamine lotion is a pink liquid that is usually that gold standard for relieving the symptoms of poison ivy. It has a skin protectant and pain reliever that helps to dry up any oozing blisters from the poison ivy. Hydrocortisone cream and antihistamines like Benadryl are other options to help with itching.


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