I have spent the last week scratching up a storm thanks to a recent run-in with some Poison Ivy (or Poison Oak as my doctor suspects, but since I was caught sitting in Poison Ivy, I'm assuming the mess on my butt is more than coincidence.)
Since I wouldn't wish this on anyone, I thought I'd share what I've learned.
1) The itching is worst when you want to sleep or relax. Take two Benedryl: either you'll pass out from the drugs, or it'll stop the itching so you can sleep. A win-win!
2) It feels soooo good to scratch. Like so good. But don't.
3) See your doctor for some heavy duty steroid cream but don't let them give you the oral pills unless you're in real trouble. Apparently, the pills have been known to cause spontaneous disintegration of joints and other unfortunate side effects. Definitely a last resort.
4) Apparently, if you realize you've been sitting in a scratch-patch (and by the way, it can get through your cycling shorts as I discovered), there's still hope for about an hour or two afterwards if you can get some soapy water scrubbed on.
5) Benedryl makes a an anti-itch spray that works great. Makes the rash feel blessedly numb and the beauty of the spray is that you don't have to touch it, thus avoiding further itchiness.
6) If you haven't got any spray on hand, another great way to achieve numbness is with a good ol' fashioned ice pack ... still trying to figure out how to fix frost bite though.
7) Your friends, family and colleagues will have a long list of home remedies to share with you including but not limited to: bathing in bleach, baking soda or milk compresses, and applying a blow torch to the affected area.
And there you have it. Prevention is the best strategy so take a tip from me: don't sit in Poison Ivy.