Itching Relief: Use Hot Water For Poison Ivy and Bug Bites

You could have avoided touching those triads of leaves; or once you realized you had come in contact with them you could have scrubbed the skin that came in contact (with strong soap or detergent) before the 20 minute time limit for avoiding a reaction. But you didn’t do those things, and now you have an itchy rash. It’s driving you nuts, distracting you from work and preventing you from sleeping. You claw at the rash and risk breaking the skin –or even infection – and the relief from scratching lasts only a few seconds. There are over-the-counter ointments, prescription cortisone-based treatments and hosts of elaborate folk remedies such as oatmeal baths. But since you have found this article you can easily get immediate relief from the itching without spending any money, exposing yourself to “wonder drugs” (i.e. “I wonder what the side-effects will be) or staining your clothing with messy greasy ointments.

Here’s how:

1. Gently scrub the affected area with a wash cloth or brush and soapy water. Rinse. This is to remove lingering traces of the toxin. The toxin is not visible but very persistent and reports of the rash “spreading” are most likely simply continued or spreading exposure to the toxin.

2. Apply hot water. If you can get the affected area under the tap, that’s the easiest. Otherwise use a washcloth as a compress. How hot? Well, don’t scald yourself. The water should be pretty hot but definitely not painful. The hot water application should last for about 10 seconds. You will know you are doing it right if the affected area itches like crazy with the hot water applied. Think of this as compressing 4 hours of itching into a 10 second period.

3. Dry off and wait a few minutes before allowing clothing or anything else to contact the affected area. Meanwhile, distract yourself by doing something else that will hold your attention for a few minutes. Just as a “watched pot never boils” an itch won’t stop while you are focused on it.

My experience has been that this procedure provides about 4 hours of complete relief – at which time you can repeat steps 2 and 3 . Approximately 86.3% of the people I have interviewed after they used this procedure report that it works. I wish I could patent it and bottle it. It also works on mosquito bites.

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