One of the most effective ways to treat the rashes that accompany exposure to the poison oak plant is to soak in an oatmeal bath. By grinding up rolled oats into a fine powder, and dissolving the solution in your bath water, you can experience relief from itching for several hours.
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Find out if you have been in contact with poison oak by knowing how to properly identify the plant. Poison oak is a vine that often grows near oak trees, and has similar-looking leaves. These leaves grow in clusters of three throughout the vine.
Rinse the exposed areas of your skin as quickly as possible to reduce the amount of urushiol–the oil on poison oak leaves that causes the irritation–that will penetrate your skin. If you are able to wash your skin with cool water and soap within 15 to 20 minutes of exposure, your rash will be significantly reduced, if not eliminated.
Prepare a lukewarm bath using collodial oatmeal, which are rolled oats that have been ground into a fine powder that will easily dissolve in water. Use several cups of oatmeal in the bath for the best results. Take care when climbing in to the tub, since the moisturizing agents in the oatmeal can make bathroom surfaces slippery.
Add a few handfuls of Epsom salts or baking soda to the bath in order to treat your poison oak rash with oatmeal. This will increase the effectiveness of the oatmeal bath by providing a longer period of relief from itching.
Soak in the tub for 15 to 30 minutes to treat your poison oak with oatmeal. Ensure that all exposed areas of your skin are completely submerged in the bath water the entire duration of the bath.
Pat your skin dry with a soft, clean towel after you exit the bath. Avoid rubbing your skin with the towel, which may cause further skin irritation.
Repeat the procedure three times a day to treat your poison oak rash. You may want to alternate your oatmeal baths with applications of calamine lotion to reduce the itch caused by the rash throughout the day.
You can make your own colloidal oatmeal by purchasing rolled oats in bulk, and grinding them into a fine powder with a coffee mill or grinder.