The poison ivy rash eventually goes away naturally within two to three weeks, but applying an over-the-counter corticosteroid for the first few days of the rash can help to alleviate itching, notes Mayo Clinic. Taking antihistamines orally may help to keep itching at bay, while also promoting a good night's sleep. Soaking in an oatmeal-based bath product may help to relieve symptoms. Mayo Clinic recommends a cool, wet compress to the rash for 15 to 30 minutes, multiple times daily.
Hydrocortisone creams, such as Cortaid, should reduce the swelling, irritation, itchiness and redness associated with a poison ivy rash, states Mayo Clinic. If a poison ivy rash is exceptionally severe, a doctor may prescribe an oral corticosteroid. An oral antibiotic may be necessary if the rash develops a bacterial infection.
Using too much hydrocortisone can be dangerous, according to Mayo Clinic. Hydrocortisone cream may interact with some medications, so it is important to tell a doctor about any medications being taken before using it. Some people may be allergic to some ingredients in hydrocortisone cream, so a physician should be consulted if a person has allergies. Pregnant or nursing women should seek medical advice before using hydrocortisone cream.Learn more about Skin Conditions