5 Tips to Beating Poison Ivy

If you have ever had an allergic reaction to poison ivy, oak, or sumac, this post is for you! I can assure you, I am writing from fresh experience. After several years of successfully avoiding poison ivy (to which I am very allergic), my sister, Michele, and I were attacked by poison ivy in the dark last week. (Well, maybe we actually attacked it while we were trimming bushes in the dark. But it was definitely not intentional!) At any rate, we both broke out with rashes that are causing torturous itching, swelling, and blistering.

You probably already know the basic helps to the malady of poison ivy—calamine lotion, benadryl, etc. But even with the use of these, I still go through several days of distracting misery. In some of my hours of distress the past few days, I’ve mentally compiled a list for other sufferers.

What can you do to retain your sanity during a bout with poison ivy? Here are five tips for your help and enjoyment:

  1. Sleep all you can
    Michele and I have both agreed that this is by far the best! Especially if you have a violent enough reaction in which the swelling leaves you incapacitated for a few days, the best way to pass the time is in a state of comatose.
  2. Pace the floor
    This doesn’t really relive the itching, but it is an outlet for all the energy you feel through your fingertips just begging to relieve the itching by scratching. If necessary, you can wave your arms back and forth with enthusiasm as you pace, as this helps to further direct the energy.
  3. Scratch another area of skin
    This is a decoy method—using yourself as the decoy. Really, it’s just another means of distraction and energy release. Be careful, however, to not choose skin that is right next to the poison ivy rash. That’s just asking for trouble.
  4. Entertain yourself
    Read a book, go for a walk, watch a video—anything to redirect your mind. Your choice of entertainment will depend on your level of distraction. Advanced sufferers probably need entertainment sources that require very little concentration and high levels of mental stimulus.
  5. Pretend you like the itchy, prickly feeling
    Tell yourself it is a unique and special sensation. (Okay, so that one didn’t really work for me. But it would be a good idea if it could work.)
  6. And one more for a bonus—write a blog post such as this. It has been great therapy by distraction for me!

In the end, I think the best way to battle poison ivy is to avoid it. No more trimming bushes in the dark for me!