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Posted: July 03, 2017

Itchy? Here are 10 ways to soothe poison oak, sumac, ivy

Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) seen in the mountains of North Carolina
Getty Images/Science Source
Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) seen in the mountains of North Carolina

By Joshua Trudell, Rare.us

While it’s the right time of year to be playing and working outside, it’s also the time of year when you might run into some nasty plants, such as poison ivy, oak and sumac.

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Here are 10 tips on dealing with the itchy results:

1. Immediately wash

All three plants have a chemical in their sap called urushiol. That’s what causes the rash on your skin.

If you think you may have run into any of these plants, quickly wash off the affected area with water and soap before it seeps into your skin.

2. Coffee

If it’s too late and the itchy, rashy places have already started popping up on your skin, there are numerous treatments you can try to help relieve that itch.

One is cold coffee – pour that over the rash to help sooth your skin.

RELATED: Don’t throw away your coffee grounds — you can use them in so many ways

3. Baking soda

Making a paste out of baking soda and water and applying it to the affected area can help. Or, you can take a lukewarm bath and add a cup of baking soda to the bath water.

4. Turmeric

Another paste application involves the spice turmeric. Make a paste out of it and lemon juice or rubbing alcohol. Apply to the affected area for 15 minutes and wipe off. Beware: It will turn your skin yellow.

RELATED: This homemade turmeric face mask can reduce acne scars and zap facial hair

5. Cucumber

While cucumber slices are usually associated with salons, they can also help relieve these itches.

You can apply the slices on directly, or mash them into a paste and apply the cooling effect that way.

6. Oatmeal

It’s not just for breakfast -- oatmeal can also help relieve these itches. Blend two cups uncooked oatmeal into a powder. Then add to a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes.

7. Epsom salts

Another bath-administered relief are Epsom salts. Adding two cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath and then soaking for 20 minutes is both relaxing and itch-relieving.

8. Aloe vera

Aloe vera has many benefits, including improving the condition of your hair, reducing dandruff, and repairing skin cells.

To reduce itchiness, rub the flesh of the plant directly onto the affected area.

9. Watermelon

Watermelons are great sources of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. The rind, which is often thrown away, is also edible and has healthy properties.

If you don’t eat it, putting the rind on your itchy spots can help cool them down.

RELATED: Add this ingredient to your summer watermelon to make it even more irresistible

10. Vodka

If you come in contact with poison ivy, oak or sumac, pouring vodka over the area can help wash away the urushiol oil that causes the itch. It’s been said that the higher the proof of the alcohol, the better.


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