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Health Tip: Treating Poison Ivy

How to soothe the itchy rash

(HealthDay News) -- If you've stumbled on a patch of poison ivy, here are a few tips from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation to help minimize your discomfort:

  • Try to catch the rash early. If you think you might have poison ivy, wash the area well with soap and cool water.
  • Over-the-counter creams and antihistamines -- such as Caladryl lotion, hydrocortisone cream, or Benadryl -- can help with symptoms.
  • Try covering the rash with a mixture of baking soda and cool water.

Poison ivy is not contagious from person to person, but is spread when the oil from the plant is still on your skin and you touch other parts of your body or another person. You should be careful to look out for the plants when out in the woods or your garden, and wash your clothes in warm water when you come in from working outside.

If the rash covers a large portion of your body, or you experience fever, headache, nausea, painful rash or shortness of breath, you should contact your doctor to see if you may be having an allergic reaction to the poison ivy.

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