top of page

A Guide to Poison Ivy: Prevention and Treatment

By Darren Hong


Who doesn't love a good hike in the woods? The great outdoors is an exciting place to explore and discover new trails. However, some may worry about the toxicodendron radicans, or poison ivy, causing irritation during their pleasant trip. Not to fear! With the help of this guide, you will be able to identify, prevent, and treat poison ivy symptoms.

Identifying poison ivy leaves is a simple way to avoid the manifestation of rashes. Using the simple adage, “leaves of three, let them be”, can help hikers avoid this annoyance. Poison ivy leaves have pointed tips, three leaves, and white berries. While hikers may be familiar with the green variant during the warmer seasons, it is important to remember that during the fall, these dangerous leaves will attempt to entice hikers with their vibrant coloration.

Another way to prevent poison ivy from striking is to wear long clothing. Wearing long sleeved shirts and pants can prevent the poison ivy from touching your skin, thus preventing the itch. Remember to wash your hands and clothing after touching poison ivy to remove the oils from skin.

If you have (unfortunately) been exposed despite my teachings, there is no need to panic. To alleviate the pain, one must simply wash the affected areas with soap and water. If you do this within several minutes, the oils from the poison ivy will be unable to be absorbed by your skin, and will thus prevent itching. While it is difficult, avoid stretching or rubbing the area. It can cause the skin to break, and also spread the oils to other parts of your body, causing more itching. One final tip for diminishing the itch is to cool down. Wrapping ice cubes around the area and taking cool baths have been reported to reduce the pain caused by poison ivy.

IMPORTANT: If the reaction to the poison ivy is severe, seek medical attention immediately. While most reactions can be treated at home, allergic reactions to poison ivy can be extremely serious, and even fatal.


Dealing with poison ivy is surprisingly simple. Wearing long clothing, washing off areas with soap and water, and using ice cubes are the easiest way to prevent and treat poison ivy. Happy hiking!

41 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page