Treatment for poison ivy is designed to give symptomatic relief until the eruption subsides, usually about 3 weeks.
Mild soaps (i.e. Basis, Dove, Aveeno) should be used for bathing. If you have access to a tub, you may wish to try oatmeal (i.e. Aveeno) baths for relief of itching.
Cool water compresses relieve itching and help reduce blisters. Adding Blu-boro (or Dome-boro) powder packets to the water gives extra relief by drying up blisters and helping to prevent secondary infection.
Calamine lotion (plain calamine, not with additives) helps relieve itching and drys up blisters. Blistered areas should be left open to the air as much as possible. It is recommended that poison ivy remedies containing benzocaine or its derivatives, Benadryl or other antihistamines, or zirconium NOT be applied to the skin as they themselves can cause skin allergy.
Antihistamines by mouth relieve itching. Chlorpheniramine 4 mg. can be purchased and used according to directions without a prescription. Antihistamines cause drowsiness and when taking them, you should not drive or operate machinery. Antihistamines should not be applied to the skin.
If lesions are extensive or swelling is severe, seek the help of a physician, who may prescribe cortisone by mouth.