Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Information Center

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Signs of an Emergency
About 15 percent of the 120 million Americans who are allergic to poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac are so highly sensitive that they break out in a rash and begin to swell in 4 to 12 hours instead of the normal 24 to 48. Their eyes may swell shut and blisters may erupt on their skin. This is one of the few true emergencies in dermatolgy says William L. Epstein, MD. Get to a hosipital as soon as possible. A shot of corticosteroids will bring the swelling down.
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This section on zanfel has grown so large that I have placed this information on its own page. The viewer comments formally located here can now be found by clicking here.



This section on Tecnu has grown so large that I have placed this information on its own page. The viewer comments formally located here can now be found by clicking here.


Rhuli (Band-Aid)

Rhuligel - now called anti-itch gel is excellent for drying the vesicles as well as controling the itching. A Johnson and Johnson product.
[email protected] submitted 23/Jun/2001

I found by luck proably the best cure for poison ivy yet. I'm not sure what about it exactly is in the product that works so well, but is called Rhuli. I found it at Wal-Mart and it isn't expensive at all, and if you are like me I don't really care I just wanted rid of the poison ivy rash. It has menthol in it which cools and if you use COLD WATER right before you apply the gel it works better. It relieves the itching. And it leaves a film over the poison ivy so it guards you against oozing of the rash. You only need to apply it four times a day. I know I seem too eager about this stuff, but it dried mine up in two days and I didn't think it would go away for several weeks.
-- Rick Aubrey ([email protected]) submitted Jul/11/1999

I have also used the RhuliGel and find that it works better than anything else. It is now made by BandAid under the name of Anti-itch gel
--"Linda Moses" ([email protected]) submitted 19/Jul/2001

Put me down as a proponent of Johnson and Johnsons Anti Itch Gel (formerly Rhuli gel) and hot water treatments. My wife has had numerous bouts with poison ivy and swears by Rhuli gel. This is my first time and the Rhuli was very effective at taking away the itch. My only complaint was that it had to be reapplied every six hours. This led to waking up itching in the middle of the night. After being broken out for three days,I looked at your website and decided to try the hot water treatment. I took a shower and kept increasing the temperature until it was near scalding. The itching was so intense that I thought I was nuts for doing this. The itching did subside, and subsequent showers were not nearly so bad. The best part was that after starting the showers, I didn't itch!! I only needed the Rhuli on two or three isloated spots on an infrequent basis. The morning after the first hot shower there were blisters that were already starting to dry up!! Thanks! For the information provided on your site
--"Frank Baron" ([email protected]) submitted 18/Sep/2001

I recently caught poison ivy and I tried ivarest by blistex but that didn't ease the itching for 8 hours (like the package says) and the tone color basically looked like pink calamine lotion which isn't so great when your at work. Being a broke college kid I didn't want to buy any more products but broke down the other day and bought band aid anti itch gel formerly Rhuli brand. This stuff works great its clear and dries fast and doesn't smell when its on and it has dried up the patches and i've only been using under 24 hours. Also a great tip I got from this site was using the blow dryer as a non scratching way to itch, very effective.
--"Mary Kate Healey" ([email protected]) submitted 27/Jun/2002

Band aid Itch relief gel spritz
[email protected] submitted 1/Sep/2002

I had a really bad case of poison oak so bad I couldn't sit down on my knees. One day my mom and I went to a restaurant where we met a lady who had worked with horses and catches poison oak all the time. She told me to do the following..

  1. Go get some band-aid plus...it is an ointment! Not a real band aid! You can get it at walmart.
  2. Get some dial soap. Those are the products you need
Now that you have those products wash with the dial soap and let it dry on your poison oak or ivy....after it dries wash it off. Then apply the band-aid plus to it.. My case of poision oak was gone in about 2 days and I had a severe case of it.
--"Laurie Kocher" ([email protected]) submitted 11/Sep/2002

I have a poison ivy rememdy that really helped me! I used Band-Aid brand Anti-itch gel by Johnson & Johnson with .45% camphor. It was formerly called Rhuli. I purchased this at Walmart. It's in a small green and clear tube. It cools the area and dries it quickly. My outbreak started Tuesday and it has almost completely dried up and I've only been using it two days! Also, I take Benadryl at night. Please do not take hot showers!!! It makes it stop itching for a while but it causes it to spread which prolongs the agony! Good Luck!
--"Kim" ([email protected]) submitted 14/Oct/2002

About 10 years ago, I got a bad case of Poison Oak on my 13 year old legs. A teacher recommended using Rhuli Gel. The stuff worked great, stopped the itch and burn. However, when the rash went away, I realized the Rhuli Gel had given me chemical burns on my legs. Aparantly there is alcohol in the gel, which stopped the itch at the expense of the burn. Ten years later I still have scarring from it. I would highly recommend not using this product.
--"Nora" ([email protected]) submitted 12/Jun/2003

I got on the site to find a great remedy for a poison ivy rash I got while helping cut down poison ivy infested trees. I took the recommendation of the Band-Aid Anti-Itch Gel. I bought a tube and used it every six hours. I find it works best if you take a hot shower with some type of dishwashing liquid first and apply as soon as you get out. I did this for less the 24 hours and the rash started to dry up. Also, a good way to keep from scratching is to use a blow dryer. Feels great and is very affective.
--"Hunter" ([email protected]) submitted 13/Jun/2003

I understand that every person's body reacts differently to poison ivy, but this has worked wonders for me. I recently got into a patch of ivy for only the second time in my life. The reaction was extremely severe, with most of my forearm breaking out and becoming covered (completely) with small blisters. Extremely uncomfortable. I tried many things, but finally found Rhuli spray at Wal-Mart. Band-aid now makes it under the name of Calamine spray. After applying the spray I gently wrapped the area in gauze. I know that you are not supposed to wrap poison ivy, but it really helped a great deal. After 48-72 hours, my blisters had gone down completely and the area was almost completely dry 3 days later. I just changed the bandage every 12 hours or so. I really hope this helps someone suffering with this insane stuff.
--"Cory B" ([email protected]) submitted 18/Jun/2003


Ivy Dry

I have been plagued by poison oak and ivy outbreaks since I can remember. The best treatment, after an outbreak that I have found is a product called Ivy Dry.
--Becky fortner ([email protected]) submitted Jun/23/2000

I was unfortunately a recent victim of poison ivy/oak/sumac, I am not sure which one, and have not re-investigated the site where I contacted the plant. I have not had a breakout from any of these plants for about thirty years, but contracted a severe case this time. The rash started as a trivial itch behind my left knee, and on my right shin, within a week it had become a patch from my ankle to my knee. I found the greatest itch relief by using the liquid "Ivy Dry", but this was all it was, temporary relief. The rash was still growing and "weeping", and thus needed a more powerful remedy, which I found, once I went to a physician. I would recommend to others, do not suffer, get to a physician, and start receiving a proven treatment. I was put on "prednisone" which is an inexpensive corticosteroid, and was instructed to take warm epsom salt baths(which felt great). Within two days, I felt so much better, the rash was starting to heal, and the epsom salt baths, followed by a coat of old fashion calamine lotion, brought me back into humanity. Within about a week I could wear long pants again, the large patches of rash, that appeared as a burn, were virtually gone. The next time, should I be so careless, I will contact a physician immediately, to end the pain and suffering! :-)
--"Robert E. Barton" ([email protected]) submitted 28/Aug/2000

Im allergic to Poison Ivy, and when I usually get it, it spreads pretty fast within hours. The thing I usually do is wash with Cold Water, and soap. I try not to itch, but its very hard. Once bumps start to appear, I get a cotton ball or qtip, and put Super Ivy Dry on. It drys it up pretty quickly, and helps the stages come faster. Never put a bandaide over it, it does need oxygen to dry out faster. After a day or so of using this stuff it begins to puss, but then 2 days later, when putting it on it burns for about 10 seconds, but it stops the itching right away for a couple hours, also drying it up. You can get it at Wal Mart or k Mart. It come is a bottle that has a pic of poison ivy on the front.
--"Amy Jensen" ([email protected]) submitted 4/Jun/2002

I am very very sensitive to poison ivy. I recommend to others who are as well to get a product that is otc called Super Ivy Dry. It is a liquid that is applied with a cotton ball every 3-4 hours. This product relieves itching as well as drys the Ivy up quickly if properly used. I wish you the best! J.L.Andridge rph
--"Jessica Andridge" ([email protected]) submitted 21/Aug/2002



I am a pharmacist who compounded my own cure for the intense itching reaction to insect bites and Poison Ivy because everything I tried was produced unsatisfactory results . I have been giving this compound cream to my family and friends for 10 years and have created such a demand for it only through word of mouth that I am considering selling it to the public . If any interest , contact me through e-mail .

I am a Pharmacist who was forever getting annoying insect bites and Poson Ivy . I tried everything available on the market with unsatisfactory results so with a little reasearch I compounded my own external treatment using new compounds mixed with old remedies. I can stop itching in 5 minutes with my compound and have been giving it to family and friends for 10 years . I have developed such a demand for my product that I have decided to sell it to the public as "Dermacool". If any interest , contact me thru e-mail.
-- Ed Budzynski ([email protected]) submitted Jun/6/2000
Editor note: Both these messages arrived from the same person the same day. Anyone care to comment if they have tried this and if this is a real product?


Ivy Block

Every year I get a rash from poison ivy mild or severe. One of the best things to prevent it I found is a product called Ivy Block. I apply this every time I cut my hedge and even pull the ivy out with just gloves on. Once this year I couldn't find my bottle of Ivy Block so put on sunblock(spf 15, don't know if the spf is a factor or not) and I did not get poison ivy. I will try this again when I lose my Ivy Block again. I think the unblock puts a barrier between your skin and the poison oils. Also be sure to take a hot shower after any contact with a non-moisturizing soap. That also seems to help.
-- Greg Schoffstall ([email protected]) submitted 15/Sep/2000


Burts Bees Poison Ivy Soap

I have suffered from poison ivy for about 15 years. It seem everytime I go into the woods, I get it. Some cases were serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. Until now, when I would breakout with poison ivy, I would focus on stopping the itch with various over-the-counter medicines. I found information on Burts Bees Poison Ivy Soap and went and bought some at a local store. THIS STUFF WORKS! Instantly the itching was relieved and in two days the rash (which was moderatly serious)was barily noticable. Finally, a cure! THANKS!!!!!!!
--Mark Van Doren ([email protected]) submitted 15/Oct/2000
Editor: Wow. I found their ad in a golf magazine and just listed it on the site without ever having tried it. Glad it worked!

There is a new poison oak soap made by a company named Ahhhh in Wonder, OR. It is made with green clay and seems to work.
--"E.Amela" ([email protected]) submitted 10/Aug/2001
Editor: I could not find any information about this product but you mention clay which seems to be the active ingredient in some other soaps that offer to work with urushiol oil. Anyone have a reference to this soap?

I picked up my 4th dose of the summer from dead roots in a trench - over legs and arms and some on the torso. I had a rash in 12 hours and oozing sores after 24 to 48 hours I tried Burts Bees Poison Ivy Soap and I gave it 48 hours based on the description from October 2000, and with no reduction in the sores, I headed for the Dr. For Prednisone. I also spent the afternoon after I started the prescription windsurfing in a hot wind and good spray, and the sores dried up completely by the end of the day (they're still raised and a little itchy but much less messy). I'm just not sure which of the remedies worked. Maybe nextime I'll give Burts Bees a little longer before I go for the hard drugs, but it will depend on the mood I'm in next time. I would like to have tried Zanfel, but its not available in Canada :(
--"Peter Williamson" ([email protected]) submitted 18/Aug/2001

Here's another vote for Burt's Bees Poison Ivy Soap. I've gotten progressively more and more allergic to poison ivy over the past ten years, and while I knew jewelweed was supposedly an effective treatment, I'd never thought of trying a commercial product containing it. The bottom line is, this soap is great! After the initial rash began to appear Monday, I started using the soap Thursday. Even though the rash had a good head start, it is now Saturday and the worst (most blistering) part of the rash has dried considerably, and much of the lesser rash has almost vanished completely. I could tell a difference the very first time I used it. The itch disappeared almost immediately, and the drying started immediately. I got the soap at a local health store but I believe Burt's Bees web site has it. Fwiw, in addition to jewelweed, the soap also contains kaolin (natural clay) to dry up the rash, tea tree oil (antiviral/antibacterial/antifungal), and distilled pine tar (soothing). All these added up to a great solution for me, and I'm happy to share it with you all.
--"Dave Barndt" ([email protected]) submitted 8/Dec/2001


Dr. West's Poison Ivy Cleanser

I haven't ever had poison ivy before but do I have a horrible case of i t right now. It's been over a week and I'm still breaking out. I have tried doct or's prescriptions, shots, over the counter creams, baths in bleach, vinegar, sa lt water, betadine and just about everything else you can name. I have had some relief with a spray that I found. It's called "Dr. West's poison ivy, oak & sumac CLEANSER". It's a very light non-oily spray that tends to dry the blisters and soothe the itch. You can call toll-free 1-877-4-DRWEST or (504) 885-3666.
-- Sue Stephens ([email protected]) submitted 1/May/2001



Ice for itching and slowing swelling. antivy is an otc item for drying it up..I get it at the lake all the time. Last weekend being an idiot that I am at times,I went barefoot for 3hrs. You guessed it on the bottoms of my feet.duh
--"steve mckeigan" ([email protected]) submitted 2/Aug/2001



After a huge motorcycle accident, motocross racing, I ended up jumping off the track, landing on a cement water pipe, shattering the cement with my knee. So, obviously the poison ivy that surounded it was the last on my list, and I laid in it rolling in pain. Going to the emergency room, I didn't notice it was poison ivy as I scratched half my flesh off my arm. The next day, realizing it was poison ivy, I cleaned it off with a band-aid brand cleaner, then putting Ivyrest a cream to relieve iching all over it, then covering it with gauze. This is keeping the itch away, and keeping me from scratching. The poison ivy markings are fading away quickly, so clean it good, using the hot water treatment, then put cream on, then keep it covered. Works good! Good luck!
--"Mike Snook" ([email protected]) submitted 8/Aug/2001
Editor:Ouch! I appreciate the information on Ivarest. Apparently it contains an antihistamine and benzocaine. Sounds promising.

I got poison ivy during the middle of winter in Indiana while cutting down some vines on trees. Used a product called ivarest made by Blistex. It's much better than regular calamine lotion. It is more of a creamy paste with 14% calamine (compared to about 7%-8% for liquid calamine lotion). It also contains 2% diphenhydramine hydrochloride. The tube of paste has a date of 1997 so I'm not sure if it's even made anymore but I would highly recommend its use if you can find it. It does smell strong but is very effective. It dries to an almost plastic-like coating on your skin.
--"Charles Klewin" ([email protected]) submitted 6/Feb/2002



There was a very expensive cream called Intrasound or Infrasound. It was not for poison ivy,per se,but supposedly helped regular cells regain their health from whatever was afflicting them. It worked like magic. Now I'm looking all over for a suplier and might try the Zanfel if I cannot find this Intrasound creme.
--"Fred" ([email protected]) submitted 16/Aug/2001
Editor: I found a link to Intrasound Powder and Gel. Is this the stuff?


Caladryl Clear

I have found a product called Caladryl Clear to very helpful and to wrap the area in gauze and ace bandage
--"Daryl Brooks" ([email protected]) submitted 23/Oct/2001

I have Poison Ivy on my arm; What I did was put clear caladryl on it. I then took a hair dryer and held it as close as I could stand the heat; (3 times a day), it has dried up and appears to be going away after about 3 days of this.
--"David L. Slattery" ([email protected]) submitted 15/Oct/2002



Allegra (60mg) helped lessen the severity of the rash. Was on Allegra (and AllegraD) for a year before this last exposure (climbing a tree and slid down a dried vine about an inch thick to get down *what was I thinking!*, But allegra helped keep the itching down, I just doubled my dose for the week the rash was worst, best bout of pi yet! A bit of Aveeno itch cream and a bunch of patience and Vitamin c are the best remedy (and never climb down dried vines like tarazan!)
--"Jason" ([email protected]) submitted 13/May/2002


Ivy Off

My son got poison ivy last year in camp. The camp nurse treated him with something called Ivy Off which is a clear gel and comes with a soap to wash the gel off. She gave him what was left in the bottle to take home. I don't know how bad his poison ivy was at camp, but my husband who gets very bad poison ivy reactions all the time used the Ivy Off after he noticed a rash on his leg after mowing the lawn. He said that the itching stopped immediately and the rash just went away. He had tried every product on the market before this, including shots at the dermatologist which didn't work for him. Nothing worked like this stuff! He now swears by it. He takes it along when we go camping and he hasn't had abreak out since he starting using it. We have recommended Ivy Off to several of our friends who also got similar results. Weordered directly from the company. They have a website with all the information on how to contact them www.ivyoff.com. Their telephonenumber is 888-872-9774.
--"Lisa" ([email protected]) submitted 25/May/2002



I have always had the worst luck with poison ivy. Nothing, and I mean nothing, could help me. All the over the counter lotions and prescription lotions did not help. The rubbing alcohol, Vicks vapor rub, and even the Clorox tricks did nothing. Until I came across the most glorious invention known to posion ivy sufferers. The name is sarna, the anti-itch lotion. It can be purchased on the shelf of any pharmacy. The cost is $10. Believe me it is worth every penny. It not only takes away the itching, burning, and whelping but it heals it in record time. I urge anyone to immediately try it and you will never have to endure the pain you once did. Relieved in Louisiana
[email protected] submitted 31/Mar/2003
Editor:Fullname is Stiefel Sarna Anti Itch Lotion and contains camphor and menthol in a soothing, emollient base according to Stiefel Labs.

Regarding Sarna: I'm dealing with my very first (and rather serious) bout with p.i. and bought the Sarna as per my doc's advice. I was also put on Prednisone. If they're working, I can't imagine how miserable I would be if they weren't ... I'm not noticing that much of a difference. Ther relief I'm getting from the Sarna is just a little better than using the Gold Bond cream. If I can make it out to Walmart today, I'm going to try the Band Aid Brand Anti-Itch stuff that was suggested here.
--"Lori" ([email protected]) submitted 13/May/2003



I just got Poison Oak. It's all over my forearms and its horrible, I've had it for about a week now. It's starting to clear up a little, but I have used a couple of things to control the itch. One thing that works really well, a trick I used when I was a kid and had it, is to use a product called Chigarid. Its a little bottle that contains a gel that is meant to be put over mosquito and chigger bites. It's not meant to be used for large areas, but its really good for particular areas that are really causing you problems. It dries up into a crust that covers the affected spot and will prevent the itching for about a day. Then reapply. It works very well. I do use it over larger areas and it seems to work. You can find it in any drugstore. Its a little teeny bottle.
--"Jeremy Sammons" ([email protected]) submitted 26/Jun/2003



I'd like you to consider adding to your product list what's been a real lifesaver for me this week: Lanacane spray. My kid had bought some for a sunburn and suggested I try it, and it's let me work and sleep pretty comfortably. I use Ivy Dry, but the anesthetic spray is really wonderful. I must have had some --or a lot-- of the Evil Weed amongst heavy weeds I pulled and cut down; scooped up several armloads of the debris into a wheelbarrow, so I have it fairly badly on the inside of both arms; early in the week forearms only, but it's now emerging from armpit to wrist.

So I hope you'll add Lanacane spray to your product list. It's a topical anesthetic (20% Benzocaine) - probably doesn't do a darned thing for the PI but it relieves the itch even better than Rhuligel, my former favorite.
--"Mary Jane Fowler" (mjfowler at NOSPAMrcn.com) submitted 20/July/2003