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Spotting and Avoiding Poison Oak, Poison Ivy, and Poison Sumac

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Updated June 25, 2014

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Preventing Poison Oak, Ivy, or Sumac Rash by Washing and Tecnu
Poison Oak - Multnomah Falls - Oregon

Poison Oak - Multnomah Falls - Oregon

Wendy Bumgardner © 2010
If you know that you rubbed against one of these plants, the FDA recommends using rubbing alcohol immediately to wipe the affected area. Alcohol will get the oil off the skin. If you carry along alcohol wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, those can be used. Some towlettes such as Ivy Cleanse are marketed just for using after exposure. Then wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water. You’ll also need to wash anything you were wearing at the time. If you went to bed before you realized you had a problem, wash the sheets, your pajamas and anything else you wore afterward. Wash the dog too, if it went bounding off into strange shrubbery.

You can also treat affected areas with a urushiol neutralizer. “Tecnu” by Oak n’ Ivy (Compare Prices) is a cleanser that removes the irritating oil. They offer a treatment kit that gives immediate relief of the itching and rash, that can also be used to decontaminate laundry, pets and tools.

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