Do Hand Sanitizer Poison Ivy Removal Exist?

Poison ivy is a pesky and invasive plant that can cause severe allergic skin reactions. It refers to plants in the Toxicodendron family. Poison Ivy is found throughout North America, especially in the North-Eastern part. The plant has leaves with 3 leaflets per leaf. 

Poison Ivy grows best in partial shade to full sun area, and it does not need a lot of water to thrive. Knowing the location will help prevent your chances of coming into contact with poison ivy. Sometimes people mix up the plant with poison oak which has similar symptoms but they are both different plants.

Anyone who has been to the woods knows that poison ivy is everywhere and not easy to avoid. The plant is often found climbing up trees and low bushes, near streams, parks, rocky outcrops, shaded areas on the side of hills and touching it can leave a person with an itchy, blistering rash that can last months. 

This plant will release very sticky oily resin from its leaves, roots and stems that can lead to itching, swelling, blistering, rashes and resplendent with welt-like hives on the skin when people have contact with it. 

That’s why it’s not uncommon for hikers to brush against it when they reach the top of a hill or when they are walking through forests. In case you happen to touch it while hiking or roaming in the woods with your dog who may have gotten into contact with it, you should be careful what you put on your hands afterwards.

In the United States, it is common to be exposed to poison ivy by touching these plants or by coming into contact with someone who has been exposed to it. Poison ivy can enter your system in 2 ways. It can happen when you touch the plant or things that have been contaminated by urushiol and when you inhale smoke that passes through poison ivy plant. 

The natural resin or sticky oil that causes the rash on skin is called urushiol, a substance that can bind to human skin, clothes, pet furs and any object, or equipment that is contaminated by it. The oil can be transferred onto these things, and then later transferred to human skin. 

When this oil touches the skin it can cause an allergic reaction, which can lead to a painful rash if not taken care of quickly enough. The rash can appear days after contact and it can be prevented by taking precautions. Your nasal passages also can become irritated from smoke from burning poison ivy and this will lead to difficulty in breathing. 

How is it Spread?

Poison Ivy can spread through the air transmission(smoke), touch, or contact with clothing, pet fur and other objects that are contaminated with it. The best way to avoid it is to stay as far as you can from this tree. 

The good news is that poison ivy does not kill people, but it does make the skin rashes, itches and swell up for two to three weeks. It may grow as a vine along the ground, it may grow on trees (leaves, branches, bark), it also grows near trails, paths and campsites.

But what if you did come into contact with poison ivy? What should you do?

Apply Ivy Block. Ivy Block is a lotion that claims to be able to prevent the itch and rash caused by contact with poison ivy or poison oak for up to 48 hours. Ivy Block contains ”bentoquatam” as an active ingredient, where it will numb the skin and prevent nerves from sending messages to the brain that cause inflammation and itching. Ivy Block is an anti-itch, anti-inflammatory and topical analgesic that is applied topically at least 15 minutes before going outside. 

Wash it off quickly. If someone comes in contact with poison ivy, they should wash themselves off with water as quickly as possible provided that the contamination is below 10 minutes duration. If you don’t get rid of it quickly enough, it will spread and make your condition much more severe. Poison ivy rash will take 48 hours to develop after exposure and lasts for 2-6 weeks.

Can a hand sanitizer remove poison ivy from the skin? Or is there any specific hand sanitizer poison ivy removal formulation.

The use of hand sanitizer is common in our everyday lives. Whether we are washing dishes or just in a rush and need to go somewhere without washing our hands, we know that a quick squirt of hand sanitizer will save us from any potential microbial infections. But does it work against poison ivy?

Hand sanitizer will not kill poison ivy and currently not many in the market that specifically treat poison ivy rashes. You should use soap and water on the area where you touched poison ivy, as the soap with a good lather can help break down or dissolve the oils in urushiol so they can come off more easily from the skin when washing with water. It will help remove the oil from the skin and stop further infection.

And to remove the urushiol from your skin properly, wash it off using tap water and soap.  Dry it off with a paper towel or a blow dryer. You should wash your clothing that may have come in contact with the plant before touching anything else. You can also wash them with a mixture of vinegar, baking powder and water and then dry them in the sun.

After that, you can apply hand sanitizer to your hands. The key ingredient is a substance that has both mildness and oil-dissolving properties so it can be used for sensitive and dry skin users too.

Other cleansing method include:

Rubbing Alcohol. It has been shown rubbing alcohol to be quite effective on the urushiol, poison oak and poison sumac. If you are thinking about going outside and accidentally come in contact with poison ivy, take a rubbing alcohol soaked cotton ball and clean any exposed areas on your skin. It will help neutralize the effect of urushiol.

After Cleansing Treatment

When you have done cleansing all the sticky urushiol from your skin, you can try all these methods to treat exposed areas.

Baking Soda. If you want to get rid of poison ivy without chemicals, you can treat yourself with safe and inexpensive home remedies like baking soda paste which can help soothe the inflamed skin and at the same time, reduce skin itchiness and irritation. 

Lotions. Any lotions that contain tea tree oil, calamine or hydrocortisone as active ingredients can be used to help soothe the skin.

Aloe Vera. Applying Aloe Vera gel or apple cider vinegar once a day after showering can also help in healing the rash and soothe any inflammation. A mixture of cotton balls soaked in 50:50 solution of apple cider vinegar (ACV) and water along with other recommended treatments are best for curing poison ivy outbreaks. You can apply it up to 4 times a day

Oral Antihistamines. You also can take some oral antihistamines medication to reduce itchy skin. Oral antihistamines help manage itching by blocking histamines and swelling in your body so you can get some sleep without worry about scratching at night. 

Oatmeal Baths.  It also can be used to soothe the skin when your skin has come into contact with poison ivy. 

Bentonite Clay. While bentonite clay is not effective for getting rid of urushiol oils, applying it like a mask does help in reducing the itchiness as well as soothing any rash or inflammation that may have appeared on the skin. When you mix bentonite clay with water, it will form a paste that can be applied to the affected area and left for about 20 minutes before rinsing off. Then, you will have to wait for the spot where the rash was to dry out before applying another layer.

Protective Fabrics. Wear protective clothing such as sleeves, face mask and gloves when in an area where there are poisonous plants such as Poison Ivy or Poison Oak.

If you are not getting better in 24 hours or if it spreads to your near eyes and ears skin part, immediately visit a doctor at the hospital.

What to Avoid?

  • Do not scratch your skin when contaminated by poison ivy. It can get worse if we scratch our skin as it will transmit more urushiol oil into other parts of the skin causing an even more severe reaction. The rash will spread and turn into a raised, red bumpy rash.
  • Hot showers may spread poison ivy because warm water will trigger skin pores opening so the oils (urushiol) that trigger the allergic reaction can adhere easily into the skin and spread internally. Hot water also may activate skin’s sebaceous glands and will lead to excess sebum production. This excess oily will make it easy for urushiol to move around the skin area.

Takeaway

The best way to be sure that you are not getting a poison ivy rash is to avoid coming in contact with it. Wash your hands after handling anything that may have come in contact with it. You also can use cold cream or oatmeal to relieve itchiness and swelling

Poison ivy rash and allergic contact dermatitis are no joke. If you have either of these conditions, you should seek medical attention and don’t even touch anything that could come in contact with your rash or clothes that could transfer the plant’s oil to your skin.