What if you can not (or forget!) to wash off and manage to break out in a rash?
In the first 24 hours, a shot of cortisone will help. If you know you are highly sensitive to poison ivy, before an outing you can request from your doctor some cortisone to take with you. For later on, you can get oral prednisone to help the inflammation. Do not let doctors attempt to make you immune to the urushiol resin by actively exposing you to it as this will actually make you more sensitive to poison ivy.
The one doctor I ever consulted on poison ivy was basically very comforting, and said, 'Take an oatmeal bath regularly. Don't itch. And put calamine lotion on it.'. The bill was standard. I really should have asked for the cortisone shot, but I didn't know it at the time. Maybe if I had called saying I was having a 'cellular-mediated (delayed type) hypersensitivity (type IV)' reaction instead of a really bad case of poison ivy?
Next: Treatment - Over the Counter Products
Back to the Poison Ivy Tutorial.