Ways & How

How to Prevent Poison Ivy from Spreading

How to Prevent Poison Ivy from Spreading

Poison ivy is one of the plants that can cause contact dermatitis, which is characterized by the appearance of a red, itchy rash on the point of skin contact. It contains an oil known as urushiol, which causes the itchy rashes. It also manifests other symptoms such as redness, hives, and even blisters that may leak fluid. For people who are extremely sensitive to the oil, facial and genital swelling may also occur. The rash will only spread when the urushiol is spread as well. To avoid this, here are some ways on how to prevent poison ivy from spreading:

  1. Rinse your skin immediately. Immediately after contact with poison ivy, wash the affected area with cold water. Make sure that you do not touch that area with your hands or other parts of your body, as urushiol can easily spread, even to your clothes. The cold water is important to rinse it off because it will immediately close your pores and not let the urushiol absorb into your skin. Warm or hot water will only open up your pores and let the oil in. Avoid showering your whole body just to rinse, since that will also spread the oil to other areas of your body.

  2. Take off contaminated clothes. As previously mentioned, urushiol can also spread on your clothes and other belongings that came in contact with the poison ivy or with any part of your body that already has the oil. Therefore, you also need to remove your contaminated clothes immediately and wash them with water. Take note that they should be separated from other laundry.

  3. Avoid scratching your rashes. It can be very itchy, but you should avoid scratching your rash at all costs. If you were unable to remove all the oil, the remaining oil on your skin can easily spread to your other hand and the rest of your body. It can also spread to anything you touch. Scratching can also cause infection, especially if you develop open blisters.

  4. Protect yourself from having contact with poison ivy. If you really cannot prevent having contact with this plant, then you have to take some precautionary measures so that you do not suffer from contact dermatitis or a severe allergic reaction. Wear clothes such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts that cover as much of your skin as possible. You can even don boots and gloves for added protection. There are also skin care products known as ivy block barriers that contain bentoquatam, which prevents the skin from absorbing the poison ivy oil. Make sure that you apply this to your skin when going outdoors.

  5. Do not burn the poison ivy plant. It may seem like a great idea to just burn the plant and get rid of it immediately, but urushiol particles can also work even if they are airborne. When you burn the plant, the particles of the oil are released into the air, and you run the risk of inhaling those particles, which can have detrimental effects on your body. There is also the risk that airborne urushiol particles may come into contact with your skin, thus causing allergies and spreading to other people. Just leave the plant alone and protect yourself from it so as not to have any problems.

The key for how to prevent poison ivy from spreading is controlling the spread of urushiol. Once you have gotten rid of the oil, there is no way that the poison ivy rash will be able to spread. Just remember that if you are unable to treat your rash at home and you experience more severe allergic symptoms, such as inflammation, visit your doctor and have yourself treated in the hospital.


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