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Can You Become Immune to Poison Ivy?

A closeup of a woman in the outdoors wiping her arm with wipes.

Poison ivy is notorious for causing an itchy, uncomfortable rash. Unfortunately, this plant is also popular in North America and can cause quite a stir for active families and nature lovers. The plant contains urushiol, an oil that leads to severe allergic reactions in most people. Despite popular belief, there is no known cure or method to become immune to poison ivy; it’s quite the opposite.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into poison ivy and the consequences of repeated exposure over time.

Can You Become Immune to Poison Ivy?

Perhaps you live in an area where poison ivy prevails, and you think you’ll skate by unaffected every season, despite run-ins with this inconvenient plant. Some people even believe that eating small amounts of poison ivy can build up immunity to the plant. We urge you not to try this. It is not a proven immunotherapy treatment, and ingesting poison ivy may be dangerous. Depending on your sensitivity, eating it can lead to a severe reaction in the mouth, throat, and digestive system. If you do decide to still give it a try, be sure to consult your physician first for guidance.

Does Poison Ivy Get Worse the More You Get It?

In addition, many believe repeated exposure to poison ivy will lead to immunity. It is quite the opposite. Poison ivy can sensitize the immune system to urushiol, causing it to recognize the substance as a foreign invader and launch an attack against it. This may result in an even more severe reaction with each exposure.

Is everyone allergic to poison ivy?

It’s important to note that not everyone is allergic to poison ivy. While most people will experience an allergic reaction to urushiol, around 85 percent of all people, the remaining 15% will not. If you are allergic to poison ivy, you should take precautions to avoid exposure. Prevent brush-ups with poison ivy by wearing long sleeves on pants during hikes or other outdoor activities. If you come into contact with poison ivy, clean exposed skin as soon as possible to limit the spread.

What to Do if Exposed to Poison Ivy

If you come into contact with poison ivy, you should act immediately. The first step is to clean the area to ensure no more urushiol oil is present on the surrounding skin and clothing. Luckily, over-the-counter Tecnu Detox Wipes are an easy and convenient solution to clean the area while on the go. Once the area is cleaned and urushiol free, you can apply an anti-itch topical spray to prevent discomfort and rash like Rash Relief Spray. Additionally, Calagel is an excellent option for instant relief.

The ultimate solution for treating poison ivy is Tecnu’s Ivy Complete Kit. This all-in-one solution can be used for poison ivy, oak, and sumac rashes. Use the Cleanse solution, poison ivy scrub, to thoroughly clean the area and remove any rash-causing oils. Next, the Treat step effectively treats any itch and discomfort associated with the rash. The final step is Detox Wipes, which ensures your skin, pets, clothing, and tools are adequately treated, removing any urushiol oil that can further spread the rash.