Family life

Itchy and scratchy: Poison ivy in children

Jennifer’s son has picked up poison ivy and she’s itching to help him feel better.

By Jennifer Pinarski
Itchy and scratchy: Poison ivy in children

Photo by ZeNeeceC via Flickr.

“Watch where you step, that’s poison ivy all over your front yard”, were the first words out of our realtor’s mouth when we looked at our cottage country home last July. Faster than you can say Round-Up, I sprayed our yard with weed killer and taught the kids what poison ivy looked like and, most importantly, to stay far away from it.
That said, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, you can only live in the bush for so long until you end up with poison ivy.

Its telltale angry red rash and oozing blisters appeared on our five-year-old son’s leg last week, but we optimistically thought it was a bug bite he’d scratched too hard and treated it like as such. But when Isaac woke up in tears yesterday morning, exhausted from a night of scratching at his legs, elbows, stomach and back, we knew that we couldn’t deny it any longer: he had poison ivy.

Either picked up on our property or at his school (which has an amazing woodland play area that, yes, has poison ivy in it), we are now trying to figure out ways to get our son to stop scratching.
Social media (like WebMD, but with a sense of humour) was quick to help out: 
-Burt's Bees has a soap for poison ivy that calms it down. 
Mommy Needs Coffee via Twitter 
-Hydrocortisone cream; Benadryl syrup/pill if he's old enough. If doesn't help — see doc!
Wendy Haaf via Twitter
-Baking soda in the bath, cooked oatmeal on the skin, apple cider vinegar compress.
Sacha Coutu via Twitter

-I used the Aveeno oatmeal baths. Helped a little.
Chantal Saville via Twitter

And my two favourites:
-Tie his hands behind his back.
Jared C via Facebook

-Call the Poison Help line to get info. It doesn't have to be an emergency. Experts are available.
American Association of Poison Control Centers via Twitter
(For me, a tweet from the AAPCC is like a tweet from Justin Bieber to a teenage girl, I was so excited!)
According to DermNetNZ (my go-to for bizarre skin conditions), the rash is not contagious and the fluid inside the blisters does not spread the rash. The fact that Isaac’s rash is spreading means that urushiol (the culprit behind poison ivy’s rash) is still somewhere on his sheets, clothes and stuffed animals.

While I’ve been washing and double rinsing all of his belongings I have my fingers crossed that I won’t have to pull a Velveteen Rabbit with his favourite bedtime cuddlies. In the meantime, it’s Benadryl, oatmeal and apple cider compresses — and even the big guns of a low dose hydrocortisone cream to help ease the itch of poison ivy.
What poison ivy rash relief has worked for you?
Photo by ZeNeeceC via Flickr.
This article was originally published on Sep 28, 2012

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