General prevention steps include the following:

  • Avoid irritants and allergens. Try to identify and avoid substances that irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction.
  • Wash your skin. You might be able to remove most of the rash-causing substance if you wash your skin right away after contacting it. Use a mild, fragrance-free soap and rinse completely. Also wash any clothing or other items that may have come into contact with a plant allergen such as poison ivy.
  • Wear protective clothing or gloves. Face masks, goggles, gloves and other protective items can shield you from irritating substances, including household cleansers.
  • Apply an iron-on patch to cover metal fasteners next to your skin. This can help you avoid a reaction to jean snaps, for example.
  • Apply a barrier cream or gel. These products can provide a protective layer for your skin. For example, an over-the-counter skin cream containing bentoquatam (IvyBlock) may prevent or lessen your skin's reaction to poison ivy.
  • Use moisturizer. This can help restore your skin's outermost layer and keep your skin supple.
  • Take care around pets. Pets can easily spread to people allergens from plants such as poison ivy.
July 16, 2014