If I'm struck by poison ivy, what should I do? Is there a way to suppress the itch?


9 Answers 9


Have you tried Dock Leaves? They're well known as a way of soothing Nettle stings and might help.

  • 5
    +1 for Dock Leaves. I always used them as a kid when I inevitably was stung while chasing cows in the fields. I used to think they were called Doc Leaves, short for Doctor!
    – John Doyle
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 12:14

I use both cortisone and benedryl cream. One reduces swelling, the other reduces the allergic reaction. Make sure to only use water soluble creams! Petroleum based lotions will block the skin from naturally expunging the poison ivy oil.

  • I have heard anecdotally that excessive use of (or the use of high potency) topical Benadryl can cause some adverse reactions. I personally got what appeared to be (at least presented like) hives after treating my poison ivy rash with very strong cream. Anyone heard that or have any real evidence for it?
    – Greg.Ley
    Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 16:19

Benadryl cream works about as good as anything for me.


I realize that an answer has already been chosen, but as a frequent sufferer of poison ivy, I feel obliged to answer. The best way to treat poison ivy, is to not get it in the first place, with avoidance as the first step, but a blocker works as well. The best blocker I've found is IvyBlock, which is a lotion. However, I am more likely to use IvyX which comes as towelettes. I keep a box in my truck and since they're handy and easy to apply, I'm more likely to use them.

However, once you get poison ivy, the best treatment I've used is a product called Zanfel. It is a wash, in paste form, that bonds to the urushiol, then is washed away. This stuff is amazing, but very expensive. I have seen generic versions, but I have been reluctant to try them since Zanfel works so well.

Some folks have mentioned Benedryl cream/pills, which does help with the itching. However, it does not treat the root cause of the poison ivy, the urushiol oil. If I feel that I might have been in contact with poison ivy, I wash with dish soap (Dawn) as it breaks up the oil.


Jewelweed should do the job, if you have it locally. It usually grows close to the poison ivy.


Plantain weed not to be confused with the bannana like fruit.Crush the leaves and rub it on.It is usually growing on the edge of roadways or compacted trails.


I believe ice can help. It's a local anesthetic, reduces swelling, and closes the pores, keeping the poison out. Of course, it can be hard to find ice..


I'm not going to repeat any of the good advice given in earlier answers. However, creams, lotions and salves will not work if you have a massive case of poison ivy. Then there is nothing to do but go to your doctor or to a walk-in clinic and get a prednisone shot and/or tablets.

I had a horrible case of poison ivy many years ago -- hands, arms, legs, face, and, I don't know how, around my waist -- unendurable. I got a shot of prednisone plus a course of prednisone tablets. Within 24 hours, the eruptions and itching were totally gone.

Ever since then, I have been a fanatic about watching out for poison ivy and washing my hands thoroughly with Lava Hand Soap very soon after I even suspect I have touched it while gardening. This has worked.

Prednisone is a powerful drug, and not one you want to ask for casually or use frequently, but when your body is covered with poison ivy, Over-the-Counter remedies are useless and you need prednisone or a similar steroid prescribed by a doctor.


Know how to identify it and avoid. that is the only way. Long pants and socks will help, but if you get it on them and use your hands in contact, surprise .. and then ...

Homeopathic remedies sound fun but the only way to over come poison ivy is with the expensive soaps that enzymatically break down urushiol oil, the oil that causes the irritation. Anything else is going to cause it to spread.

  • 2
    None of the remedies listed here are homeopathic in nature. Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 18:00
  • so what would you call Plantain weed crush the leaves and rub it onIt is usually growing on the edge of roadways or compacted trails. or Jewelweed should do the job,if you have it locally. It usually grows close to the poison ivy .... these sound like hill medicine to me besides they simply don't work. poison ivy reactions are entirely due to urushiol oil until you break down the chemical it will continue to inflamed the skin.
    – SkipBerne
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 20:10
  • and dock leaves. sound pretty homeopathic to me.
    – SkipBerne
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 20:18
  • 1
    You may be confused about what homeopathy is. I suggest you read up on it. It is confirmed quackery, unrelated to natural remedies (some of which, but not all, are quackery). Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 20:24
  • the point is that if you really want to get rid of poison ivy you have to get the EXPENSIVE ENZYME solution. $30. other wise you just spread it around with either moms, grand moms or commercially available quackery.
    – SkipBerne
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 20:37

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