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How should I cleanse my skin if I have poison ivy?

If you have come in contact with poison ivy, you should cleanse your skin with soap and water within five to 10 minutes. After that time the urushiol oil (chemical that causes the reaction in poison ivy) will have penetrated the skin. If you have been exposed, certain creams can absorb the urushiol to help prevent reactions. Additionally, all pieces of clothing and objects that may have the urushiol oil will also need to be cleaned with soap and water. Remember that the best method for preventing poison ivy rash is to avoid exposure.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
If you have come in contact with poison ivy, you should take care to wash your skin immediately with cool water to remove the oil from the poison ivy leaves or vine that can irritate your skin. If a rash develops on your skin, use cool water to help relieve the itchy rash. You also may want to take an oatmeal bath or add baking soda to the bath water to help calm your skin.

If your rash is too advanced to bathe comfortably, you can place cool cloths on the affected skin to clean it and help ease your discomfort. If you have poison ivy on your face, try to use a gentle cleanser with cool water to calm your skin.

Poison ivy can cause a very serious rash, depending on your sensitivity or allergic reaction. Try to keep the affected area clean and dry so your poison ivy rash does not develop into an infection.

In addition to cleaning your skin, you should also wash all of your clothes and shoes that may have touched the plant. Use hot, soapy water to better remove the oils left by the plant. This oil can stay active for a long time, and you do not want to risk exposure to it again.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.