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Beat the Heat: Treating Poison Oak Rash at Home
Can you tell I have now been suffering for almost a week from a poison oak rash that my husband brought home to me as a gift? It happens once a year, it seems, when my husband comes home from work with the dreaded statement: “I got into a little poison oak today.” And, every year my response is the same: “I’m sorry to hear that,” (thinking, “sucks for you, glad it isn’t me”). But lo and behold, a few days after his incessant scratching and once I have done multiple loads of his dirty laundry, I come down with an equally bad case of it. Which leads me to here: Hopelessly COVERED in the insufferably ITCHY poison oak rash. SO I write this in hopes that you will heed my warning about this plant and steer clear of it and its brutal effects on your normally beautifully-soft skin.
There’s nothing like the hugely grotesque blisters, leaking their pus everywhere, and hot burning itchy pain associated with them, to remind me just how awful and uncomfortable poison oak is, EVERY SINGLE TIME. Year to year, It never gets better (only worse in fact) and always seems to spread once I have it. So instead of outlining all of the ways to AVOID getting it, which you should definitely DO; I decided to focus on treating it with home-made remedies, once it’s too late and you are already infected. They have proven to work, by speeding up the healing process, drying out the sores, while also numbing the pain/itchy sensation somewhat (at least for me and my hubby).
Starting with the second you know you have it—retrace your steps and wipe everything you have touched (think steering wheel and gear shift in your car), disinfecting it with rubbing alcohol or its equivalent. Put your clothes and shoes and anything else you had on (or were handling) in a bag and wash them immediately! Take a cool shower, using soap (some swear by Dawn dish soap) for total removal of all the oil from your skin and hair. Make a paste with vinegar and baking soda and roughly scrub it onto the itchy spots, exfoliating as much as possible. Following your shower, pat more vinegar into the puckered itchy flesh (this stings a bit). Then rub some calming Calamine lotion on, followed by sprinkling some more baking soda to coat/dry out the weeping blisters. I repeat this process whenever I notice a new rash forming and sometimes will soak in an Oatmeal/Baking Soda bath, which helps soothe my burning itchy skin. *Pop a Benadryl (or any antihistamine) to relieve the allergy symptoms, every four hours or so, and you’ll feel as comfortable as you can while still recovering from the injustice served by this relentless plant that lives up to its name: POISON oak.
Please post if you have tried other things that have helped you in the past– I would love to hear of more strategies that work!
*If the poison oak rash doesn’t improve within a week’s time, it’s probably a good idea to see a doctor and get on a steroid to help clear things up.