Really? It is funny I am looking into my "Minor Emergencies Medical Textbook", and it says do not rub alcohol. Well, you have to do what works for you.
Do you use steroids?
BTW, nice page as usual for you. :)
Hi Liba, I totally forgot that you are a doctor therefore qualified to render a better medical opinion. Yes, alcohol rub seems to do the job. It doesn't have to be done immediately. I think it's safe to say it can be done within a few hours of exposure.
And no, I don't use any kind of steroids. How are these two chemicals related, alcohol and steroids? Does one neutralize the effects of the other?
Steroids are a treatment of choice for any type of rash when doctors have no clue what else to do... so, we used to make fun of dermatologists - more than 1/2 the time they prescribe steroid creams.
It does decrease the itching and the inflammation.
Sorry, about your sensitivity - I guess long pants are the best.
Any astringent will be very helpful, especially if administered before rash develops. (In a pinch, cold water is better than nothing.) Alcohol should also dissolve the irritant-containing oil on your skin and clean it away - which most soaps don't do well at all. I don't know why your manual would say to avoid it. Steroids are effective at reducing inflammation, but using steroids to fight poison ivy is a bit like following a street dog around your yard with a pooper scooper instead of closing the gate.
Steriods definitely work on poison oak. I am extremely allergic myself, have not tried alcohol, but whenever I apply Tecnu immediately after contact I have no issues.
Oral steriods work much better, topical I could not see as much impact. I got some poison oak on my face once, and within a day or so with oral medication it was pretty much gone (it wasn't very several, from secondary contact I'm sure, but I didn't want it on my cheek regardless).
I would think Tecnu (or paint thinner, which is basically what it is) would work better on the oils of poison oak, but if alcohol is doing it then that is just as well.
Don't stop using what works! If alcohol works for you, let it be. But yes, Tecnu is pretty much the same as paint thinner, but treated a bit to remove some of the compounds that have a stronger smell, and with some antihistamines added (which would only come into play if you use it when it is already too late).