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How to Treat Poison Ivy

Uh… did you just sit in a patch of poison ivy? Yeah you did! Now what?

Warning Seek medical attention immediately if you experience a severe allergic reaction to poison ivy, such as a swelling of the mouth or nose, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or a high fever.

Step 1: Clean the area with rubbing alcohol and cold water If you’ve been exposed to poison ivy and you act quickly, you may be able to avoid an outbreak. Pour rubbing alcohol on the area that came in contact with the plant, then rinse with cold running water.

Tip Do not rinse with warm or hot water, which can cause the plant’s oils to be absorbed more quickly. Also, to avoid spreading the oils, don’t take a bath, and avoid showering without first rinsing.

Step 2: Wash with soap and water Use soap and water to thoroughly wash the area. This might help prevent the outbreak. Scrub under your fingernails, and immediately remove and wash your clothes (and anything else that might have the plant’s oils on it) in hot water.

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