I consider myself fortunate that I’m not allergic to much. My kids, on the other hand, have several allergies. I have seen from their experiences what a pain allergies can be in many ways. First, there’s the issue of determining what is causing an allergic reaction. Then, you have to determine how to best treat the reaction. This can all take time, and it can be expensive as well.
Poison Ivy Rash
During the past two years, I have found out something that I’m highly allergic to: poison ivy. You can see this year’s poison ivy rash in the photo above (well, part of it. I had patches like this pretty much all over my body). In addition to looking highly unattractive, it itched like crazy! I searched online for remedies. I didn’t want to head to a doctor for one because of the expense (our insurance is such that we have to pay for everything until we pay $4000 per person annually. This results in us only seeking medical attention for severe issues, and this is one I figured I could survive).
Here are my results in dealing with my poison ivy allergy.
We had a couple of tubes of “first aid cream” around the house. Each contained lidocaine (one had 2.5%, the other 4%), which claimed to relieve pain and itching. I put this cream on all the rashy areas in the morning when I woke up, throughout the day when it itched a lot, and before bed. How did it work? Okay — but it did nothing to “cure” the rash; it was simply a way to reduce the itchiness temporarily. I found that I needed to apply the cream about 15 minute before I really noticed any relief in the itching.
I asked a pharmacist at a local store for any over-the-counter remedies that she could suggest, and she recommended hydrocortisone cream. I purchased this, and applied it as I had the lidocaine. Results? Pretty much the same. I didn’t notice that the hydrocortisone did anything to clear up my poison ivy rash, but it helped somewhat with the itching.
Apple Cider Vinegar
I read online that applying apple cider vinegar was good for alleviating poison ivy rashes. I applied apple cider vinegar to my rashes a few times a day. Again, I didn’t notice that this had any effect.
Ask a Doctor
I had to take one of my kids to a doctor for a well-check. Feeling a little desperate, I showed her my rash and asked if she could prescribe anything for it. She said no, sorry, she couldn’t do that. Darn — at least I tried.
I was beginning to wonder if I would be living with my poison ivy rash forever, when daughter #1, who wins the family prize for most allergies, happened to be home. She mentioned that she had a cream in her arsenal of prescription products that she thought would work. It was called mometasone furoate. I put this on the worst rash area, and the next morning, it looked quite a bit better. I asked her to get a prescription for another tube of that cream next time she goes to the dermatologist, and I’m confiscating it for my next poison ivy rash. It’s just a shame that it’s not over-the-counter.
My sister-in-law mentioned that she’d tried Zyrtec with a poison ivy rash and had found it helpful. I bought some (actually, I bought a generic brand. The important thing is the active ingredient, which is cetirizine). I took twice the recommended dose, or 20 mg per day. This helped quite a bit with both the itching and the redness of the rashes. In fact, in searching online I read that “at a recent Essentials for Primary Care Conference, Zyrtec was the suggested recommendation for all acute allergy treatment situations as the new and better replacement for Benadryl.”
If you have severe poison ivy reactions like I do, I recommend this cream and Zyrtec (specifically, cetirizine). They were definitely the most helpful things I tried.
Do you have a poison ivy allergy? What solutions have worked for you?