Q. I had poison ivy all over my leg and nothing I tried for it seemed to help much. It may sound crazy, but I noticed that when I got in a hot shower, the hot water felt good on the rash, kind of like I was scratching it.
I found that after putting hot water on it, the poison ivy didn’t itch for a while. So I turned up the heat as hot as I could stand it and held it there as long as I could stand. When I got out, it didn’t itch anymore.
A. Hot water (hot enough to be uncomfortable but not so hot as to burn) can ease itching for hours. It works for poison ivy and insect bites, but not hives. Another reader shared this experience:
“Your hot water remedy for mosquito bites was amazing! I tried all sorts of anti-itch creams, and none worked as well as a wet towel, 30 seconds in the microwave, and a minute on the bites. I wish I knew about this a long time ago.”
Another reader found a different surprising remedy for poison ivy itching:
“I heard about milk of magnesia last week on the radio program, just as I was having a bad breakout of poison ivy on my legs. As I am very allergic to poison ivy and calamine lotion doesn’t work very well, I was curious to give it a try. Result, it relieved the itching and quickly dried up the oozing sections.”