Watch: Don’t Ever Get Poison Ivy or Poison Oak Rash Again

April 8, 2019 Updated: April 8, 2019

With springtime fully underway, poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can be a problem.

In a video, Dr. Jim Brauker, who worked as a biomedical scientist studying skin inflammation, said he has “tried many poison ivy treatments, poison ivy soaps, poison ivy creams, and other poison ivy products.”

“Poison ivy prevention was key, but poison ivy removal, actually urushiol removal was key to preventing poison ivy rash. This video shows the remarkable results of his investigation into how to prevent poison ivy reactions. The solution is so simple it almost seems dumb. But if you follow his prescription, you will probably never suffer a severe urushiol-induced skin rash (contact dermatitis) again,” the video description says.

In the video, Brauker shows how to get urushiol off one’s skin.

“Simply clean your skin within two to eight hours of contact,” he says in the clip, adding that most people “don’t wash it effectively.” He says urushiol is like axle grease and can appear between the fingers and in other sports.

Eastern poison ivy distribution in North America (Public Domain)

The most important cleaning method is using any soap, use a washcloth everywhere, and use heavy friction.

The Mayo Clinic gives a similar recommendation: wash the area thoroughly and quickly with soap.

Also, people should wash all their poison ivy-affected clothing.

One person recommends using isopropyl alcohol.

“I would like to add that using a rag and isopropyl alcohol wiping down any skin that should come in contact with the plant immediately. Isopropyl alcohol with not only help remove the oil but it will also crystallize the oil into a larger particle reducing the penetration of the oil on your skin,” said one man.

More poison ivy (Jaknouse / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)

Poison oak, located on the West Coast, also has urushiol.

According to the FDA, here are ways to identify different poisonous plants:

-Poison Ivy: Found throughout the United States except for Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of the West Coast. Can grow as a vine or small shrub trailing along the ground or climbing on low plants, trees, and poles. Each leaf has three glossy leaflets, with smooth or toothed edges. Leaves are reddish in spring, green in summer, and yellow, orange, or red in fall. May have greenish-white flowers and whitish-yellow berries.

-Poison Oak: Grows as a low shrub in the eastern and southern United States, and in tall clumps or long vines on the Pacific Coast. Fuzzy green leaves in clusters of three are lobed or deeply toothed with rounded tips. May have yellow-white berries.

-Poison Sumac: Grows as a tall shrub or small tree in bogs or swamps in Northeast, Midwest, and parts of the Southeast. Each leaf has clusters of seven to 13 smooth-edged leaflets. Leaves are orange in spring, green in summer, and yellow, orange, or red in fall. May have yellow-greenish flowers and whitish green fruits hang in loose clusters.

Poison oak in California (Elf / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)