(NaturalNews) Poison oak is a shrub that grows across the United States. Its three-leaf structure is similar to that of its cousin, Poison Ivy. The toxic oils from the plant cause rashes and itches. The plant's oil contains urushiol, which causes the rash. Absorption is immediate, but the rash can take up to 24 hours to develop. It appears more quickly in people with sensitivities or allergies to the toxin. The rash can spread to any part of the body and is followed by itching, redness and swelling. Crusts and blisters from poison oak exposure take up to 10 days to heal. Home remedies made from common kitchen ingredients, such as honey, baking soda, and oatmeal, reduce the swelling and itching of poison oak.
Washing After Exposure to Poison Oak
Wash the body with cold water as soon as possible. Washing off immediately after exposure prevents the oils from penetrating into the skin. Prevent clothes or skin from contact with furniture or rugs as well. After eliminating the oils from the surface of the skin, bathing with soap within 30 minutes of exposure can reduce the amount of rash and blistering, as it prevents the oils from penetrating deep into the skin. The oils left on clothes or furniture can continue to cause a rash for months, so good cleaning is an important step. Wash any equipment that was present at the time of exposure, such as camera bags or tents.
Baking Soda Relieves Poison Oak Itch
Baking soda can relieve the itching. Put a half cup in a lukewarm bath or make a paste. The paste can be made of one teaspoon of baking soda and a quarter teaspoon of water. This can be applied directly to the rash as needed. Do not apply to open wounds or blisters.
Honey Soothes Poison Oak Blisters
Honey is soothing to many skin conditions and can be applied directly to the skin. It can also be diluted in water using half water and half honey for easier application. Honey has healing properties and speeds the recovery. It also helps reduce the itchiness of the vesicles and can be applied to open blisters as well as to the general rash areas according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Oat Bath Relieves Poison Oak Itch
Oatmeal soothes itchy skin and one way to apply oats is via an oatmeal bath. Oatmeal can be ground into a fine powder and one half cup added to warm water. Epson salts can be added to this if there are no open wounds. Another method of using oats involves a paste application. This can be accomplished by adding the oats to a small amount of warm water until the paste is the consistency of glue and applying directly to the rash. This will reduce inflammation and itchiness.
Melanie Grimes is a writer, award-winning screenwriter, medical journal editor, and adjunct faculty member at Bastyr University. She also teaches homeopathy at the Seattle School of Homeopathy and the American Homeopathic Medical College. A trained homeopath, she is the editor of the homeopathic journal, Simillimum, and has edited alternative and integrative medical journals for 15 years. She has taught creative writing, founded the first Birkenstock store in the USA and authored medical textbooks. Her ebook on Natural Remedies for the Flu is available at: http://melanie-grimes.blogspot.com/2009/04/b... Follow her blog at http://melanie-grimes.blogspot.com/ www.melaniegrimes.com