I've rarely had any success at all with calamine lotions. They never seem quite strong enough, although the overall effect of white splotches is kind of fascinating, particularly when the rash starts to weep. The references do mention them helping.
Oral antihistamines can help the itching, but the antihistamine lotions won't, while aluminum acetate (Burow's solution) is recommended for topical use to sooth the itching. An Aveeno oatmeal bath provides some rather strange entertainment and is at least a little distracting (Yum! Oatmeal soup!).
Do not use anesthetic sprays as they may actually make your rash more annoying. Hydrocortisone cream might help if a mild rash reoccurs after the initial healing.
One of this site's readers recommends Zanfel. Another reader relays his experiences with Zanfel (see below).
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Back to the Poison Ivy Tutorial.
About Zanfel, one of this site's readers, writes the below (though I belive he means he applied it to the skin around his eye not actually in his eye on the eyeball (read all directions before use).):
I did a test with Zanfel and will do a better one with images and everything next time I get poison oak on myself. In fact I am so determined to prove this point I may do it intentionally to a small area of skin... but anyhow on to the point.
I recently had a bad case of poison oak on my eyes and mild on my body. I knew it was coming on because the feeling in hot water is unforgettable and once you feel that sensation you just know you have it.
Well I looked all over the web for what Urushiol was and if there was anything to do and I ran across Zanfel. I bought it because of all the great reviews and testimonials I saw, and any hope is worth the $$$ when you feel it in your eye.
(Next time I will go to the doctors if it is in my eye or on the genitals... No fun at all. (as you know))
As the swelling started I followed directions and applied the Zanfel to my eye. It does ease the itch and discomfort, I will agree with that. But my swelling never stopped. The next morning I applied it again. by end of evening my eye was hot and swollen so much I could not see out of it. Also I could feel it on my wrists and forearms so I did a little test. I only put it on my right arm, and my left arm was the untouched control group. Well needless to say I was so disappointed with the results. Not only did my eye not show any signs of swelling reduction as the people say, my arms both looked identical through the process. A small tube of Zanfel is between $40 and $50, so that is worth it if it helps, but expensive if it is snake oil (you know what I mean).
To be fair and support other reading I have made on Zanfel: (Based on some of the reviews on Amazon.com)
Someone mentioned that the first time they used zanfel it worked great, and some time later it didn't work at all. They said it may expire rather quickly. Or our bodies could reject it. So I could have got an old tube. But it was my first time using it.
There is also reason to believe that it works better on some people than others. I did find it interesting that the people with the best results got the Steroid shot from there doctor and then applied the cream. This is not a very controlled test. I will let you make your own mind up here.
For my final conclusion based on my little experiment, Zanfel does work to ease the discomfort and itching. But it does nothing to sooth the swelling or heat or reaction. This again is based on my experiment.
Like I said, I cannot wait till I get it again and can do an actual side by side, day by day photoshoot to give people the facts. Anyways I saw you had a link to their site, and wanted you to know it may not work for your readers. I don't know if even a placebo is worth it with Urushiol, you still get the rash and itch... no way around it. The testimonials look great, but look at some real customer reviews not on their website. I choose Amazon only because I always look at their reviews before jumping into a new purchase blindly.
Hopefully this will find its way to your readers if you choose, just thought I would put it out there so you can have the option. Thank you for your site, it is what we all need when trying to quickly search for answers while scratching.