How to Treat Poison Ivy

By: peterhutch

One organic method used to get rid of poison ivy is to pull it out by the roots. The roots must be disposed of; do not burn! Inhaling fumes from burning poison ivy causes far greater health problems than just the rash caused by skin contact. Another natural method is to get rid of poison ivy by smothering it. Smothering entails cutting it back close to the ground, then placing newspapers, cardboard, old carpeting, tarps, mulch or some other covering on top of it.

Once you identify poison ivy, especially if it is in your back yard, you will want to get rid of it, unless it is in a part of your yard that you and your kids can simply avoid. Unfortunately, trying to get rid of poison ivy can be difficult and dangerous, since the poison ivy plants often grow back and you run the very big risk of getting exposed while trying to kill the plants.

Poison ivy growing in your lawn can be potentially dangerous to anyone who stumbles across it. The rash and irritation that follows a brush with poison ivy can feel almost unbearable. But do you know how to properly get rid of poison ivy in your yard so that it will no longer pose a threat to you? And do you know how to get rid of a poison ivy once it's created a painful, itchy rash on your skin?

The list of putative treatments for Toxicodendron dermatitis is as extensive as human imagination, and not a single one actually cures the underlying problem -- that is, the allergic reaction to urushiol. Everything has been tried, from herbs to horse urine to gunpowder. While some of the remedies ease the pain and itching of the dermatitis, the only thing that actually cures it is time. That said, there are some things you can do to either avoid the itch or treat its symptoms. These methods fall into two broad categories: palliatives and preventatives.

Know where to look for poison ivy in order to remove it from your lawn and garden. For help identifying the tell-tale three leafed poison ivy plant, see the information to the left. If you're looking for the poison ivy growing in and around your yard, you'll often find the plants growing around trees, along the edges of a field, open grass, or a road. Poison ivy will grow as a low ground cover, a free-standing "shrub" with one stem, and as a vine wrapping around standing objects (like trees).

Use a glyphosphate-based herbicide to kill the plants. Glyphosphate is a nonselective herbicide and will kill any plant it comes in contact with. Keep it away from your landscape plants. Herbicide works best on poison oak that has already formed berries.

Apply soothing lotions such as calamine directly to the poison ivy rash. After applying the cool compress to your poison ivy rash, spread calamine or a similar lotion over the affected area. These lotions work to relieve your itching and dry up the blisters and oily bumps of your rash. Be sure to check the use by date on your lotion bottle; calamine lotion does expire, and won't be able to soothe your rash after its expiration. Aveeno Anti-Itch Cream with Natural Colloidal Oatmeal, Band-Aid Anti-Itch Gel, and Aloe Vera Gel are other viable options for gentle topical creams to relieve your itching.

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