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Most everyone reacts to an oil in the poison ivy plant called urushiol. The rash typically goes away on its own in a few weeks, but some people have a more serious reaction that requires a trip to the doctor's or even to the emergency room.
For most of us, the American Academy of Dermatology offers these suggestions for managing a poison ivy rash:
- Wash your clothing. The oil can adhere to clothing, causing the rash to spread.
- Wash anything that may have come in contact with the oil.
- Do not scratch, which can trigger an infection.
- Take short, lukewarm soapy baths to help fight the itch.
- Apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to the rash.
- After consulting your doctor, take a recommended antihistamine.
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