7 Ways To Prevent and Treat Poison Ivy

7 ways to prevent and treat poison ivy

Summer is here, which means you might be spending more times outdoors. Whether you are hiking, camping, or gardening, your chances of running into poison ivy are likely, so knowing how to protect yourself from this poisonous plant is important. Instead of spending the summer itching from head to toe, take a look below at 7 ways to prevent and treat poison ivy. When you keep these tips in mind, you can keep yourself itch free and enjoy summer in the way it is meant to be enjoyed!

1. Remember the old saying, “Leaves of three, leave them be.”
Poison ivy is easily identifiable by the three leaves, a red stem, and vine like characteristics. However, poison ivy may lack one of these traits which may lead you to assume the plant is safe. Instead, keep the rule in mind that if a plant has three leaves, leave it be. Don’t touch it and instead play it safe.

2. Use a prevention spray.
Head to your local gardening center or Amazon where you can find poison ivy killing sprays. This is perfect for banishing poison ivy from your yard without having to touch the plant. If you notice any in your yard, treat it quickly before it has the chance to spread.

3. Cover legs and hands when working in the yard.
Wear long pants, sleeves, and gloves when working in the yard. This way should you come in contact with poison ivy, the oils from the plant won’t have the chance to touch your skin. Immediately remove and wash the clothing in hot water when you come indoors.

4. Use a deep cleansing scrub after being outside.
After hiking, camping, or yard work, use a deep cleansing scrub and hot water to clean your skin of any poison ivy oils it may have come in contact with. It is always wise to wash hands well after yard work, but be sure to get the legs, arms, and ankles well too.

5. Don’t burn unidentified plants.
If you typically burn your yard waste, you might want to think twice. Burning poison ivy can be a major health hazard. Don’t burn unidentified plants in your fire pits or bon fires and instead stick to kindling that you are sure of the source.

So even after taking great care, suppose you find yourself with poison ivy. Here are some things you can do to help speed up healing and reduce the itching that comes along with it.

6. Use oatmeal for soaks and wound coverings.
Take plain oatmeal and make a paste with it by adding baking soda and water. You can apply the paste to the poison ivy and also add it to your bath. It will help soothe the itch while also drying out the wound, which can help speed up the healing process.

7. Change linens with each use.
To avoid infecting others in the house or other areas of your body, change bedding daily and washcloths/towels daily until the rash is gone. Do not share linens with anyone else in the household.

Are you ready to get control of poison ivy? Give these tips for preventing and treating poison ivy a try and see what a difference they can make.

About Taylor Nikaci

87 comments

  1. Neely (@Neelykins)

    I got poison ivy AWFUL as a kid and oatmeal baths were the cure. These are great ways to prevent it though!

  2. Pam Wattenbarger

    I remember getting poison ivy years ago. Now I try to avoid the plant at all costs!

  3. Cascia Talbert

    Great tips! Our family went hiking on a bike trail yesterday and we were on the lookout for poison ivy, but I didn’t see any.

  4. Nellwyn

    Great tips! I’m so lucky I’ve never had poison ivy. I’ve heard it’s terrible!

  5. Alicia Taylor

    I currently live in and grew up in the woods in Florida. I use to run and play in the woods all the time – and have been blessed to have never gotten poison ivy. I’ve heard it’s aweful!

  6. Liz Mays

    I’m almost afraid to type it for fear of jinxing myself. I’ve never had the rash which is really surprising considering my childhood wanderings through forests and trails with my friends.

  7. tp keane

    I live in fear of it too. I’ve never had it or had to deal with it.

  8. Liz Mays

    I’ve heard that sometime you don’t get a rash the first time you come in contact with poison ivy. I don’t know if that’s true though!

  9. Melissa

    Thanks for these tips, I have seen how awful poison ivy can get. It itches so badly.

  10. Theresa

    I haven’t had it since I was a kid, but I still remember how it feels. Terrible!

  11. Theresa

    We found a little patch growing in our yard last year. I made sure Jason took care of getting rid of it all pronto since we have a lot of kids that love to run through our yard.

  12. crystal

    Has any of it come back? My brother has it horribly in his yard.

  13. Samantha Pierce

    Great tips for outdoor weather – we’ve encountered poison ivy a couple times this year already.

  14. Courtneylynne

    I always try and wear clothing that covers me when I know I’m going to be in the woods! I have unfortunately gotten poison ivy many times and it sucks lol!

  15. Chelley @ A is for Adelaide

    I am pinning this! I know we have it in the yard somewhere- there is no way we don’t- I am just glad no one has been effected at all since we moved in. …there will come a day!
    …and who knew about burning?! I didn’t know burning poison ivy is a health risk!

  16. kristi

    These are great tips to have. Fortunately, knock on wood, my boys haven’t had poison ivy and our wooded yard is crawling with it!

  17. April Hammond

    Those are great tips on how to avoid poison ivy and to treat it. I didn’t know there were prevention sprays, that is good to know!

  18. tp keane

    Not from America I have no idea what poison Ivy looks like. Great to have these tips now that I’m in MA.

  19. Elizabeth O

    We have a lot of poison ivy in my area, and most people know what to look out for and how to remove them. They are a pesky plant and grow quite quickly. Your tips are very helpful.

  20. Rorybore

    We camp a lot every summer and so far; I’ve never had a case of poison ivy — even though it can clearly be seen in the woods right around our campsites and we walk through daily. None of my children have ever had a reaction either. Then my husband and his mom walked into the woods to follow us, and by that night: both had severe reactions. I don’t know the science behind so called “immunity” – but it appears myself and my kids have it. Poor hubby!

  21. crystal

    Other than the information I gained from reading “Fancy Nancy: Poison Ivy Expert” I didn’t really know a whole lot about it. With all of our summer explorations, it’s good to be prepared.

  22. Stefan - The Millennial Budget

    I got an awful rash from this once as I was not covered while hiking through the mountains. It was really painful but luckily I got medicine coming back down.

  23. Alli Rutherford Smith

    I haven’t been in contact with poison ivy since I was a kid, but I remember wanting to scratch my arm off. Now, whenever I’m outside and see vines, I remember the old saying about leaves of three.

  24. Shirley Wood

    So glad we don’t have poison ivy in our yard! I love that saying, “leaves of three, let it be!”

  25. Annemarie LeBlanc

    Thank you for these tips. It is great to enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about things like these. I have to take a close inspection of our yard. It is not big but I want to be sure my grand children would be safe when they come out to play.

  26. Mimi Green

    I so didn’t know about the leaves of three but that is a great way to remember. I need to share this with my son, he is an outdoors kid.

  27. Pam Wattenbarger

    Not burning unidentified plants is a great tip. I know someone burned poison ivy in our neighborhood and it made some people pretty ill.

  28. Katie

    These are good tips to know. We have some itchy vines around here, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen true poison ivy.

  29. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    Poison Ivy is the absolute WORST! We have it all over the place down here, and we scan the ground no matter where we walk.

  30. Catherine S

    This is great information. We are outside a lot in the summer and I am sure we will run into it eventually.

  31. karen

    When we would be on the Cape every summer, with poison ivy all around us, I was always nervous about it. I’ve heard how it spreads SO easily… and I just couldnt imagine that misery! Your tips are so helpful!
    Karen | GlamKaren.com

  32. Heather Lawrence

    We don’t have poison ivy here where we live and honestly I don’t know if I have ever seen it before either. Pinning this for when we go to the mountains so we make sure that we are safe and know what to do in case we run into trouble.

  33. Seattle Travel Blogger

    Thanks for the good tips.
    Poison ivy is definitely a hassle.
    We made the huge mistake of burning it once time – big mistake!

  34. Terri Steffes

    These are great tips. I know that oatmeal is supposed to have some great curative nutrients in it but I think it seems weird to use oatmeal for medicinal purposes!

  35. Amy Jones

    Really great preventing tips! Poison Ivy can be really terrible if you have no clue on how to handle it

  36. Cindy Ingalls

    I had no idea burning poison ivy could be toxic. These are great tips for avoiding coming in contact with it at all.

  37. Sarah

    I had no idea there was a preventable spray for this, super cool to know!

  38. Stephanie Pass

    This always scares me when we’re out in a wooded area. I’m always afraid I’m going to miss it and my kids will get into it. So far, we’ve been able to steer clear of it.

  39. Jeanine

    This stuff always freaks me out! It’s all over the parks here, so we try to avoid those areas! Thanks so much for this… you just never know!

  40. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    My husband just had a bad case of poison ivy a few weeks ago! These are great tips for my family, as we are very outdoorsy. Thanks for sharing!

  41. Kendra

    Great tips! I’m always worried about running into poison ivy while on hikes

  42. Emily

    I didn’t know you couldn’t burn Poison Ivy! Thank you for sharing that.

  43. Kathleen Kennedy-Leon

    This blog post comes at a perfect time, we are going camping again and this is a handy reminder of how to treat it should we encounter it on our trip. Hopefully, I won’t need it-but always better to be prepared

  44. Terryn

    The last 2 years have been really bad for poison ivy with my family. Essential oils have worked wonderfully for us!

  45. Rachel Mouton

    Thanks for the great tips! We love to go for nature walks, but I’m always afraid of touching poison ivy :/

  46. adriana

    Great tips! I can’t imagine dealing with this – haha hopefully I’ll never have to! But my mom is allergic to it; she used to get it when she was a kid a lot. This is a great post!

  47. Jessica Harlow

    These are such smart tips on how to avoid and treat poison ivy! It’s actually the perfect reminder for me to have a chat with the kids about what kind of leaves to look for when they are playing out back in the woods. I don’t think they know!

  48. Cassandra @ Powered By BLING

    I’ve gotten poison ivy several times and the oatmeal bath definitely helps the itch…at least for a little while.

  49. Bella

    Ah, these are great tips and I’m glad to have them. I have never had a run in with poison ivy and hope I never do.

  50. Roxanne

    I worry every year that I’m not going to see poison Ivy and miss it. These are great tips to keep on hand!

  51. Michelle Gwynn Jones

    Poison Ivy and Poison Oak – what was Mother Nature’s plan for them?

  52. Rachel

    Great tips. We have poison ivy here and I’ve been lucky enough to never get it despite doing photoshoots all over the woods.

  53. Kristi

    I know how to treat it but my trouble is spotting the darn stuff. I can spot needles miles away but have a tough time spotting poison ivy.

  54. Cathy Mini

    These are some great tips for preventing and treating poison ivy. I have gotten it so many times – it’s no fun, that’s for sure!

  55. Amanda Love

    Poison Ivy can be such a headache so it’s good to simply just avoid them. However, there are things that can happen and it’s good that you have treatments like this in case! I didn’t know that there’s a spray that you can buy to keep them from growing in your garden.

  56. Melanie Smith

    Amazing tips to prevent poison ivy! Thank you so much for sharing this info! It can be horrible if you don’t know what you have to do.

  57. Kristin

    Great tips! So important especially as we hike and spend time outdoors this summer!

  58. aziel morte

    I remember poison Ivy years before and So glad that yous hare this

  59. Carol Bryant

    Oh gosh bringing back memories of being a Brownie. I love that you reminded me of leaves of three, leave them be. So spot on.

  60. Paula

    Ick! We used to have poison oak at camp, and most campers amazingly managed to avoid it. I know, though, from the few that did get it, that it’s a beast.

  61. Nicole Escat

    Oh, I never thought that poison ivy can be that dangerous! I will keep these tips in mind.

  62. Rachelle

    I had no idea that burning poison ivy could be a health hazard! I will have to be more careful!

  63. Jay Simms

    I remember having poison ivy when I was a kid. It was horrible. I am so glad that there is a prevention spray that can help.

  64. Krystle Cook

    Oatmeal baths definitely help out! I never really thought about changing the sheets daily while you have it. The process of healing could go so much quicker.

  65. Ashleigh Walls

    We live in a community surrounded by woods. My best friend has a lot of poison ivy in her backyard but the kids have yet to touch it. This will be great to know how to treat now.

  66. Debra

    I have luckily never had poison ivy, but I am going to put this in my arsenal in case that day ever comes!

  67. Enricoh Alfonzo

    I’ve never heard of the saying “Leaves of three, leave them be.” it sounds so cool must be an american thing, as with poison ivy too. Haven’t come across them here but these are awesome tips, especially the warning about unidentified plants

  68. Ana De Jesus

    Using oatmeal for wounds is a great hack to treat poison ivy. Thankfully I have never have never experienced poison ivy but a great tip to remember.

  69. The Mad Mommy

    These are great tips. I don’t think may people know that burning it can actually be a hazard. I don’t think I will ever forget the “Leaves of three” saying.

  70. Yvonne Sowell

    These are great tips! I could never tell Poison Ivy and the very least is to know how to treat it if not prevent it. Thanks!| yvonnesowell.com |

  71. Toni

    Great tips. My husband is a hunter and has had to treat it several times.

  72. Berlin

    Thank you for the share. Indeed very helfpul and informative. I guess its safer if I tend to our small garden than let the kids do the trimming anf gardening.

  73. Rosey

    Poison Ivy is miserable, isn’t it? This is a great and timely post! I like the ‘leaves of three’ rhyme to teach the kids.

  74. Kiwi

    When I was growing up I knew so many of my childhood friends that got poison ivy. Luckily i never experienced it but I heard oatmeal was good way to heal from it.

  75. Mary Edwards

    I surely hope I never get this. Or my kiddos. Love your tips. Thanks for sharing

  76. HilLesha

    I haven’t got in contact with poison ivy yet, but I have heard it can be something else! Thankfully, there are preventions and treatments.

  77. Vyjay

    These are wonderful tips n tricks, though not being in the US, we have not had to face this issue but we have friends and relatives who would find this information of great value, will share with them.

  78. Travel Blogger

    Im so lucky to have never run into this nasty plant but its good to know what to do if the case ever arose.

  79. Jasmine Watts

    These are great tips to prevent poison ivy! I’ve heard it’s terrible but I’m so lucky I’ve never had it.

  80. Melissa Bernardo

    My 1 1/2 year old son just had a patch on his leg. I have no idea where he got it from. I immediately covered the spot and it went away very quickly.

  81. Reesa Lewandowski

    My husband is very susceptible to poison ivy, so it’s so scary to see it around! These are great tips for us!

  82. Kathy Kenny Ngo

    I have no idea what posion ivy is. But based on the articles I’ve read about it, it’s kinda scary. Great tips tho!

  83. Leigh Anne Borders

    I am fortunate that I have never really gotten into poison ivy. We do have it near us though and my husband treats it.

  84. Leslie Hernandez

    Lucky me I have never gotten into poison ivy, where I live we don’t really have poison Ivy. I do like to know and read about it and how to prevent and heal because you just never know right!

  85. alissa a apel

    We haven’t had problems with it, but did have to tell our sons what to watch out for with their outdoor camp. Poison Ivy and Poison Oak we get a lot of around here. More recently a Poison Parsnip has moved into our area. If someone touches that, they need to go to the ER. It eats the skin.

  86. Cara (@StylishGeek)

    My family and I love to go hiking, specially in the summer. Knock on wood we have not experienced any bout with poison ivy yet, but I am glad you have a helpful post that tells us what to do in case that happens. Thanks for sharing!

  87. Jocelyn @ Hip Mama's Place

    Great tips. Our house backs out to the woods and we have all kinds of plants and bushes around us, but have not seen poison ivy- thank God!

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