Poison ivy might be considered the bad boy of the cashew family. Mangoes, pistachios, cashews—and poison ivy.
It’s generally identified through a pair of aphorisms: Leaves of three, let it be; Berries white, poisonous sight.
Reaction to poison ivy can be a tricky thing. Some people develop an immunity over the years. Others are never bothered by the plant until they’re adults. Some people are greatly affected as children, then have only a mild reaction as adults.
Calamine lotion? Forget it. It only makes you look weird.
There’s a large list of cures—some tried and true, others a little questionable.
Actually, your body is likely to “cure” the problem on its own as the inflammation runs its course. The trick is to make it through that period with the least discomfort, without the urge to itch.
• Heat—Run very hot water over the blisters to make the itching go away, or use a hair dryer, taking care not to burn yourself. Similarly, stand in a hot shower and let the heat work on the afflicted areas.
• Cold—Some favor the opposite approach by rubbing the area with an ice cube.
• Bleach—Are you kidding? I know a doctor who still swears by it. Others warn blood poisoning could follow this approach.
• Baking soda—The body is sending white blood cells to attack the infection, but there’s actually no infection present. Try a baking soda paste on the blisters to help dry out the skin.
• Clearasil—Acne medications contain chemicals to dry out the skin. The faster new skin grows up from below, the quicker the rash is gone.
• Oatmeal—Boil up oatmeal, let it cool some, then apply to the rash for relief. A little baking soda can be added.
• Vinegar—If you don’t mind the odor, vinegar is said to bring a quick relief.
• Banana peels—Never tried this one, but why not give it whirl? Rub the inside of a banana peel on the rash. This one comes with very high recommendations.