Poison oak is a plant that is poisonous and can cause severe allergies when it encounters the skin. It is similar to other deadly creepers like poison ivy and poison sumac, which grow commonly in several parts of the world, and is found extensively in the United States. It causes severe itching and formation of rashes when you start scratching the itches. Being allergic to any one of these toxic plants gives you more chances of being allergic to all three of them, hence more reason to be extra careful.
It is the sap of the plant, which is oilier in nature that is responsible for the allergic reactions. This sap or oil, known as urushiol is present in all the three plants. You can get affected by the poison by stepping on the poison oak plant (barefoot) or if you happen to cut it, crush it (for reasons best known to you) or simply brush against them or roll over them. All these actions can trigger the plants to release the oil, which is toxic and will work on the skin to cause irritation and allergic reactions. However, there are home remedies for poison oak that can help.
Causes of Poisoning by Poison Oak
- Contact with the oil oozing out of the Poison Oak Plant
- Brushing against the plant (any part of the exposed body) causes irritation
- Stepping on the plant while barefoot can cause skin irritation
- Contact in a similar manner with other plants like Poison Ivy and Poison Sumac
Symptoms of Poisoning by Poison Oak
- Uncontrollable itching on the affected portion of the skin
- Distinctive red marks on the skin that was in contact with poison oak
- Small bumps or hives forming on the parts of the skin that were exposed
- Formation of blisters that ooze fluid
Note: Before you commence administering any of the home remedies for poison oak listed below, ensure that you wash the affected portion with clean water. Douse the affected part and hold it under a stream of water for at least 10 minutes so that the poison on the top layer of the skin is washed off. Use only cold water to wash the affected portions as warm or hot water tend to open up the pores, allowing the poison to seep into the skin. Once done, wash your hands thoroughly with mild soap and water.
5 Best Home Remedies For Poison Oak
5. Ice pack
- Collect a handful of ice cubes from the refrigerator
- Bundle them up in a piece of clean washcloth
- Apply the ice pack to the affected portion of the skin
- Repeat the process 2 to 3 times during the day
How does this work?
While an ice pack can give instant relief, it is good only for a mild case of poisoning by oak poison. Applying an ice pack relieves the itchiness and burning sensation, and helps contain the inflammation if any. The ice pack works on the underlying tissue of the skin, which may be bleeding due to the harmful effect of this noxious weed. An ice pack also helps in reducing the associated muscle pain and spasms, if any and offers instant relief. However, if the poisoning is severe, consider any of the other forms of treatment listed below.
The ice pack is useful for preventing stiffening up of the affected area and prevents any accumulation of toxic fluid that could have been triggered by the poisoning. An ice pack against the skin causes a temporary numbness, thus offering relief from the intense pain and itching.
The remedy is not good, if:
Do not apply the ice cubes directly on the affected portions of the skin. This can only aggravate the condition and cause more damage to the skin. If ice cubes are not available immediately, consider using any frozen vegetable or a slice of meat that you have stored in your fridge. Either of these is equally effective and can be applied directly to the skin.
4. Baking Soda
- Take 2 tablespoons of baking powder
- Mix the baking powder in 1/4 cup of clean water
- Make a thick paste of baking powder and water
- Apply on the affected portions of the skin and allow to dry
- Repeat the process 2 to 3 times in the course of the day
How does this work?
This wonder healing powder, which is sure to be found in most of the households, is an amazing medicine that has so many applications. Baking soda is safe to use on the skin of children or adults, and its mild alkaline property has a soothing effect on the poison that is embedded in the skin. Apart from offering relief from the pain, baking soda acts as a soothing balm that relieves the itching sensation and reduces the swelling, if any.
Another method of using baking powder as a natural treatment for poison oak is to dilute two tablespoons of baking powder in about 1 liter of water. Soak a gauze pad in the solution, cover the affected portions with it, and let it sit for a good 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat the process 2 to 3 times during the day and you will get relief from the poisonous effect of poison oak.
Be careful while applying the baking soda paste or solution near the eyes, lest it enters the eyes and causes irritation and damage. Do not apply baking soda directly on the skin as it might cause some aggravation.