As your Scouts know if you ask them, there was a lot of poison oak around our campsite at Camporee over the weekend! After just a day or two, your son might be experiencing the telltale rash and blisters of poison oak exposure and they might be itching. It is important not to scratch. While there are many home remedies to dry the skin and relieve the itch, the Oregon Dept of Forestry only recommends two commercial products: Tecnu is a good cleanser for removing the oils from your skin and clothing you get from the poison oak leaves and stems. However, once that urushiol oil has bound to your skin, it is very difficult to remove. So at this point, Tecnu is too late. The second product is called Zanfel, which is found at Walmart and Walgreens, but is expensive. It really works well for several days post exposure. Contrary to popular belief, poison oak oils are not spread from person to person because the oils bind so well to the skin. However, the oils are spread easily from clothes such as pant legs or socks. Moms, be careful if you do the wash. While the oil is relatively fresh on a Scout’s hands, it can be spread to other parts of the body too (yikes.) The rash may come on as quickly as a few hours to a as long as a week after exposure and usually lasts 2-3 weeks before it is gone without treatment.
Remember it is important not to scratch – it will take longer to heal. Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can help with that too.
Here is a link that might also provide you with useful information:
If the rash is real bad, of course, see your doctor and oral steroids which have their own precautions can be prescribed. And remember too that 15% of people are not allergic. Additionally, sometimes people don’t become allergic until post puberty and most become more sensitive the more often they are exposed. So hopefully, even if he was exposed, he won’t get it the rash.