First wash the affected area with soap and water to remove any traces of the urushiol (especially helpful if done within the first 30 minutes of contact). Washing contact area in a heavy salt water or meat tenderizer and water mixture is helpful too.
Once the residue has been washed off, and if done quickly after exposure, you may get lucky and have no reaction at all!
If itching, redness or rash, blistering or painful swelling occurs over the next day or so, try one of these remedies:
- Baking Soda Bath: Use lots of baking soda and hot water (as hot as you can stand it).
- Epsom Salt Wrap: To help with itching, dip a clean cloth in a strong solution of Epsom salts & water then cover the affected area with the cloth and bandage.
- Mint Tea Bath: Either toss a few bags of peppermint tea into a tub of hot water or add handfuls of freshly picked mint, let “steep” for a few minutes before soaking in bath. Can also make a batch of “Tea” by brewing a pot of strong peppermint tea, allow it to cool then soak cloths in tea and apply to affected skin as a cool compress (or just dab with a cotton ball). Regular tea can also be helpful (make it strong and chill first before using).
- Jewelweed Infusion: Either rub the affected skin with the “sap” from a broken stem of jewelweed or fill a pot with the herb (including stems & flowers), cover with water then bring to a boil. Simmer until it has been reduced by half. Strain, refrigerate and use topically on affected skin. Can also freeze into ice cubes or small packs and use as needed so if you have a bunch growing nearby, stock up on it when it’s in season and prepare a batch to use year round.
- Apple Cider Vinegar & Oatmeal Bath: Add 1 cup of each to a bath and soak. Can try dabbing apple cider vinegar on rash for relief.
- Oatmeal Paste: Mix water and oatmeal to make a paste then apply to affected area, allow to dry before reapplying.
- Mint Lard Salve: Roughly tear a handful of catnip or mint leaves, toss them in a pan and add a half block of lard. Melt over medium heat then reduce to low heat and let slowly cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with lid and allow to cool awhile. While the lard is somewhat warm and still liquid, remove any large bits of the leaves then pour off the lard into a clean glass jar. Allow to set then use as a salve on affected areas.
- Diaper Rash or Hemorrhoid Ointment: If you’re in a pinch and have one of these on hand, they can help reduce the painful itch and swelling.
- White Household Vinegar: Either add a few cups to bath water or dab directly onto skin. Can mix with salt before applying.
- Buttermilk: Add a couple cups to bath water or mix with a bit of sea salt and dab directly onto skin.
- Honey: Smear over rash area as needed for relief.
- Banana peel: Rub the inside of the peel over the affected area.
- Calamine Lotion: Apply generously on skin as often as needed.
- Aloe Vera Gel: Apply over affected area as often as needed.