Poison ivy, oak, and sumac can be crazy-making, with an incessant itch and dreadful rash. While poison ivy dermatitis usually resolves on its own within a couple of weeks, most people seek over-the-counter treatments to help take the edge off the itching and discomfort.
There are various treatments on the market to address poison ivy, oak, and sumac; and in most cases, a doctor’s visit is not necessary. However, in more severe cases, ( i.e. widespread and persistent rash, or a severe allergic reaction) immediate medical attention may be necessary.
Common over-the-counter poison ivy medications include topical and oral antihistamines. The most commonly used topical products are calamine lotion, and hydrocortisone (a low potency steroid) to help reduce itching once a person has developed poison ivy. Since these treatments can only mitigate symptoms of poison ivy and cannot help prevent the spread, some people might consider this a downside.
Oral antihistamines (i.e. diphenhydramine) are sometimes used to reduce the severity of itching and allergic reactions to these noxious plants. Keep in mind, oral antihistamines can make a person drowsy. While this effect may sound appealing to those who are desperate for a good night’s rest, feeling drowsy before bed does not guarantee quality sleep. In fact, an antihistamine pill can stick around in the system and actually make you feel more groggy the next day. So much for that beauty sleep…
At the end of the day, I hope you find the best treatment option and healthiest route for you. Whatever you decide, don’t lose sleep on it..;) Feel good, and stay away from that poison ivy.
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