Tanner Health System MyChart

  • Home
  • Stop That Itch! Treating Eczema and Poison Ivy

Stop That Itch! Treating Eczema and Poison Ivy

It’s the itch you can’t stop scratching.

With eczema or poison ivy, an itchy rash can start suddenly and last for weeks. The rash you get from eczema or poison ivy can look similar, happen pretty much any time of the year and be treated with similar medications or therapies.

What’s the difference in eczema and poison ivy?

Eczema is a term that describes a group of conditions that can make your skin dry, itchy and even cause rashes or blisters. It can be genetic or caused by allergens or other environmental triggers. If you have eczema as a child, you can outgrow it. But sometimes it’s chronic — which means it can flare up throughout your lifetime.

Poison ivy rash is a type of eczema specifically triggered by the oils in the poison ivy plant. Touching any part of the plant —l eaves, stems, even roots — can cause a skin reaction —sometimes a severe one — if you’re very allergic. You can even get a reaction if you touch gardening tools that have the oil on them—up to five years—which is why you should always wash anything that was exposed to the plant. Never burn poison ivy, as the oils can be inhaled and cause lung problems.

Another difference? Eczema tends to happen in certain areas of the body, like the knees or elbows. Poison ivy rash can happen anywhere your skin touched the oil.

So, how do you treat eczema or poison ivy?

Even though the rash from poison ivy tends to be a one-time treatment and eczema may need to be treated any time it flares up, similar therapies can help soothe your skin:

  • Topical steroids. You can start with over-the-counter topical hydrocortisone or ask a doctor about prescription varieties.
  • Antihistamines. Topical or oral treatments can work with steroids to help reduce itchiness.
  • Moisturizing treatments. Add a quarter cup of baking soda or colloidal oatmeal to a cool/warm (not hot) bath and soak; it will help reduce itchiness and moisturize your skin. Afterwards, apply any topical medication, then a moisturizing ointment on top.

When you just can’t stop scratching

Visit Tanner Urgent Care. Our providers can prescribe medicines and give you other advice to help stop your itch. For even faster relief, skip the waiting room: Go to the Tanner MyChart app and let us know when you’re “On Your Way.”

Tanner Health System, Tanner Medical Group

Comments have been disabled for this post.