With the approach of summer it’s natural to want to get out into nature and enjoy the open spaces, fresh air and the beauty of the countryside. When venturing out it’s wise to be aware of the dangers of poison oak. Poison oak is common throughout the US, except Alaska, and grows in woods, pastures and along roads and streams. Poison oak is a leafy shrub that can grow to a height of six feet. In woods it can climb like a vine. The leaves are scalloped, similar to oak tree leaves, but more glossy. In spring they are bronze when they first appear and then change to bright green. As summer progresses they will become yellowish and as autumn approaches change to red. The plant bears white flowers from March to June and white or tan berries as autumn approaches. Like poison ivy and poison sumac, poison oak releases an oily sap, called urushiol, when touched and anyone who has brushed against these plants will know all about the blistering, itchiness and swelling that it can cause.
Here are 11 natural remedies that will help relieve the effects of touching poison oak:
1. Cold Water
As soon as possible after coming into contact with poison oak, soak the affected areas in clean, cold water. If soap is available gently wash the irritated skin areas to help remove the oily sap from the leaves that causes the problem, taking care not to rub hard as this will only aggravate the symptoms. Once you’ve thoroughly washed and rinsed the affected skin, soak a clean towel or cloth in cold water and hold it on the skin. The cold water will help to soothe the itch and help prevent swelling.