New Use for Oatmeal: A Bath to Soothe Poison Oak

I have been lucky so far – after a lifetime of hiking, playing outside, and snuggling dogs, I have never fallen victim to poison oak.  It doesn’t mean that I am immune to it, of course, just that I have been fortunate to avoid it for so long.  My 8 year old son hasn’t been so lucky.  Last week, his face (and other delicate parts, which will remain unnamed) were covered.  I suspect that he got it from a recent hike when he played in the bushes, or from wrestling with our dog who joined us.  What I do know is that he was miserable.  We tried Benedryl to help with the itching, along with calamine lotion and a plethora of naturopathic ointments and homeopathic pills.  Despite the fact that we used a shotgun approach to his symptoms, I am pretty sure that there were two strategies that made a real difference.

making an oatmeal bath

We got our first bit of true relief from an oatmeal bath. I didn’t know if I was supposed to just pour oats into the hot bath or if there was a tidier technique.  Thank goodness there was a better approach – here’s what to do:

  1. Pour a cup of rolled oats into a nylon stocking or dress sock, and tie a knot just above the bulge.
  2. Run a warm bath, with the water pouring over the oatmeal-sock.
  3. As the oatmeal softens, squeeze the sock (like you are milking a cow) and the oatmeal will ooze a silky substance into the bath.

Running Water through Oatmeal

making an oatmeal bath

"Milking" the Oatmeal Sock

Our son was so happy after this bath.  He said, “it’s amazing! My skin looks like it’s normal color again!”

Even though this strategy was soothing, our major breakthrough came from Zanfel, an ointment that we purchased at the drugstore that washes away the oils that cause inflammation and discomfort.

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6 Responses to New Use for Oatmeal: A Bath to Soothe Poison Oak

  1. naomi says:

    I love your site! It’s so full of great recipes and tips like this! I’m bookmarking this, but I know the day will come and I’ll be panicked but relieved I can use this as a resource.

  2. Amanda says:

    LOVE this info… I never knew how to do it either but this really helps!!

    P.S. We totally eat that brand of oatmeal in our house! :)

  3. I unfortunately fall victim to stress hives on occasion. I had one hell of a nasty case this past March during my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month http://littlelocavores.blogspot.com/2010/03/terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad.html and I’ve always used Aveno colloidal oatmeal bath mix. When, and let’s hope it’s not soon, I get them again, I’ll have to try this method.

  4. Kristen says:

    That is brilliant! Who knew?

  5. Tickled Red says:

    Oh my goodness!! I hope that he is feeling better darlin’. My mom had a horrible case while she was pregnant with me. So far I have been lucky as well.

  6. Mackenzie says:

    I recently got poison ivy and this helped alot. :)

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