Treat poison ivy by immediately rinsing the skin with soap and water, apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion, use cool compresses to sooth the skin and take antihistamines to ease symptoms, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Washing all clothing and other items that might have been exposed to the poison ivy plant to prevent additional breakouts or spreading the rash caused by it to others.
Washing the skin with soapy, lukewarm water is important because it removes any remaining oil from the plant that might affect other areas of the body or other people. Wash all surfaces that might have been exposed, including leashes, pet fur, golf clubs and gardening tools, advises the AAD.
It is important to avoid scratching the rash of poison ivy, since this can cause an infection to develop. The use of calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can sooth itching. Taking tub baths using colloidal oatmeal, which can be purchased at most drug stores, may also ease itching. Using a wet washcloth to make a cool compress and applying it to the rash can also ease the discomfort of poison ivy, according to the AAD. Antihistamine medication available over the counter can also help to reduce itching.