If you have come in contact with a substance such as poison ivy, oak, or sumac, immediately wash the area with large amounts of water.
After a rash has developed, leave it alone as much as possible.
- Use soap and water sparingly.
- Leave the rash exposed to the air whenever possible.
- Do not scratch the rash.
If you have a rash, you should not be in contact with children or pregnant women. Most viral illnesses that cause a rash are contagious, especially if a fever is present.
Relief from itching
- Keep the itchy area cool and moist. Put cloths soaked in ice water on the rash a few times a day. Too much wetting and drying will dry the skin, which can increase itching.
- Keep cool, and stay out of the sun. Heat makes itching worse.
- Add a handful of oatmeal (ground to a powder) to your bath. Or you can try an oatmeal bath product, such as Aveeno.
- Avoid scratching as much as possible. Scratching leads to more scratching. Cut nails short or wear cotton gloves at night to prevent scratching.
- Wear cotton clothing. Do not wear wool and synthetic fabrics next to your skin.
- Use gentle soaps, such as Basis, Cetaphil, Dove, or Oil of Olay, and use as little soap as possible. Do not use deodorant soaps.
- Wash your clothes with a mild soap, such as CheerFree or Ecover, rather than a detergent. Rinse twice to remove all traces of the soap. Do not use strong detergents.
- Do not let the skin become too dry, which may make itching worse.
- Take several breaks during the day to do a relaxation exercise, particularly before going to bed if stress appears to cause your itching or make it worse. Sit or lie down, and try to clear your mind. Managing your stress by relaxing every muscle in your body, starting with your toes and going up to your head, may help your symptoms.