How long does poison ivy itching last?

A white male hiker sitting by the lake holds a Tecnu Calagel after touching a poison ivy.

So you had the unfortunate luck of touching poison ivy, and now you have a rash that itches without mercy. You’re wondering why this is happening and how long this problematic situation will last. Let’s look at how poison ivy causes the rash, how long it lasts, how to make the healing process faster, and products that can help you relieve some of that itching or pain.

How poison ivy, sumac, and oak cause rashes

These three plants have always been a challenge for outdoor enthusiasts and home gardeners, affecting up to 50 million Americans yearly. What makes these plants toxic is the oil found within them, urushiol, a mixture of organic compounds that causes mild to severe allergic reactions when absorbed into the skin.

An estimated 80-90% of people are allergic to the compound, and the immune system attacks any cell that bonds with it, causing the rash.

How long do poison ivy rashes last

After exposure to the plant, it takes 24-48 hours to develop the rash, but some people experience the reaction days after. It will start as intense itching, then develops into a rash with blisters. Only at this point can you begin tracking the typical healing period of one to three weeks.

How to speed up the healing process

The best thing you can do is provide an environment that allows your body to heal your rash. The worst thing you can do is touch the rash, including scratching the area or using harsh methods like washing it with hot water or harsh chemicals. Here are some of the things you can do to help your skin heal faster:

  1. Keep the affected area clean. If you suspect poison ivy or oak oil is still present on your skin, use Tecnu Original or Tecnu Extreme to clean the area.
  2. Use Tecnu Calagel to help reduce itching.
  3. Apply a cold compress on the affected area for 15 minutes up to 3 times daily.
  4. Avoid unnecessary touching of the affected area and never scratch it. Tecnu Rash Relief is designed to limit touching open rashes with a spray formula.

Unfortunately, the itching will likely persist until near the end of the healing period. Fortunately, special products formulated to help relieve sufferers of poison ivy rash are available. Tec Lab’s Tecnu Calagel Anti-Itch Gel provides instant relief, allowing you to heal without worrying about sleepless nights due to itching. Be prepared for any possibility—have Tecnu products in your first aid kit so you can outdoor more.