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How Could a Poison Ivy Remedy Help Your Itchy Bites?

A reader who lives in an RV finds a poison ivy remedy useful against all kinds of itches, including those from chigger bites.

When warm weather arrives, we start spending more time outside in fields or woods. As a result, we may come home with itchy bites. Chigger bites are especially irritating. A brief blast of hot water can calm the itch for a while. Could a poison ivy remedy also be soothing?

Poison Ivy Remedy Stops Itching:

Q. My favorite remedy for chigger bites is the poison ivy remedy Ivy-Dry. This product stops the maddening itch of the bites.

I live in an RV and can’t carry a lot of extra stuff with me. An RVer friend tried Ivy-Dry for chigger bites and decided he would rather use that than any of the preventives. I apply the liquid version with a cotton swab. I’ve loaned my bottle of Ivy-Dry to fellow RVers and it helps all types of itches.

What Is in This Poison Ivy Remedy?

A. Ivy-Dry contains benzyl alcohol, camphor and menthol. It is marketed as a way to treat the itching of poison ivy and poison oak as well as bug bites.

How It Works:

The skin contains nerve endings that are equipped with transient receptor potential (TRP) channels. These respond to temperature and touch as well as menthol and camphor. By stimulating these TRP channels, you can overwhelm the nerves that are creating the itch sensation.

Preventing Chigger Bites in the First Place:

We still believe prevention is the best approach to chiggers and other biting bugs. Insect repellent with DEET or picaridin is effective.

Some people report that dusting their shoes, socks and pants legs with powdered sulfur (flower of sulfur) keeps the chiggers and ticks away.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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