Even if your kid is experienced with the outdoors, it's easy to have an accidental run-in with poison ivy. And then you have to deal with the itchy aftermath of that plant. Thankfully, the at-home poison ivy treatments that are safe for kids are here to help you out.
Native to North America, poison ivy grows as a shrub or trailing vine across much of the United States, as noted in Healthline. Basically, if you go outside somewhere in the US, it could grow nearby. Although the three-leaved plant may not look like much, it's best to avoid touching it at all. Poison ivy produces an oil called urushiol, and contact with this oil can cause an itchy, streaky rash to appear on the skin, as noted by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). To make matters worse, the rash often doesn't appear until several hours or even days after contact with the plant, as further noted by the AAD. So it's entirely possible to touch poison ivy in the wild without even realizing it until much later.
For the most part, experiencing an allergic reaction to contact with poison ivy isn't a life-threatening problem, just a huge annoyance and irritation. That said, if you or a loved one experiences a severe reaction to poison ivy that does not improve with time, a high-grade fever, or contact with the eyes, mouth, or genitals, then it's best to see a doctor, as explained by the Mayo Clinic. Don't risk it. For more routine brushes with poison ivy, however, these home remedies might be just the thing to soothe the savage itch.
1. Soothing Bath
For immediate relief, turn to the tub for help. Taking short, warm baths in a colloidal oatmeal preparation can help ease the itch, as explained by the American Academy of Dermatology. You can buy the oatmeal preparation at a drugstore, or use a cup of baking soda for the same sort of relief. Just make sure the water is lukewarm or even cool to boost the soothing factor.
2. Calamine Lotion
It's kind of an old-school remedy for poison ivy treatment, but it definitely helps. Applying calamine lotion to your kid 3 to 4 times a day can soothe the itching associated with a poison ivy rash, as noted by the Akron Children's Hospital. The cooling lotion helps calm the skin irritation.
3. 1 Percent Hydrocortisone Cream
A topical steroid cream can often provide lots of relief. For instance, applying an over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream could help decrease the itch, as noted in WebMD. But if this doesn't provide enough power, then you may need to get a stronger version prescribed from your physician.
4. Cool Compresses
Sometimes the simplest remedies are best. Applying cool compresses on your kid's rash can help calm the skin, as explained by Children's National. Simply placing a chilled, damp towel on your kid's poison ivy itch can do wonders.
5. Oral Antihistamines
For some people, over-the-counter antihistamines such as Claritin or Benadryl can help with the itching and inflammation associated with poison ivy, as explained by Healthline. Consider asking your physician about the proper dose for your child. As a bonus, these meds might help your kiddo sleep a little easier.
6. Baking Soda & Water Paste
Again, the simplest solutions are sometimes best. Applying a paste of baking soda and water to the poison ivy rash can relieve the itching and irritation, as noted by the US Food & Drug Administration. It's an easy and inexpensive way to help that poison ivy rash chill out a little bit.
7. Witch Hazel
Your face toner might be able to pull double-duty as rash relief. Applied topically, a splash of witch hazel may reduce swelling and itchiness from the poison ivy rash, as explained in Very Well Health. With a little help from these remedies, your kid's rash should be far less bothersome in no time.