HomeAnswersDermatologypoison ivy rashSevere poison ivy rash spread last week. Can Calamine help?

Can Calamine lotion be used as an alternative to oral steroids for managing a poison ivy rash?


The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Answered by

Dr. Shanza Ikram

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At December 31, 2022
Reviewed AtOctober 6, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I am a medical student. I have severe poison ivy contact dermatitis. The rash started on my left arm and has spread over the last week. I have small papules that are all over my body but not on my face or genitals. Through the investigation I have done, I have been able to gather that I would most likely benefit from a course of oral steroids. I have read that this needs to be a tapering course for two to three weeks to prevent a rebound immune reaction. My concern is steroids have a negative impact on memory, focus, mood, and overall ability. Can I use Calamine lotion to treat these rashes?

Answered by Dr. Shanza Ikram


Welcome to icliniq.com.

If the reaction is in the spreading phase, you need a course of steroids orally. But taking a short course of steroids for only six days does not require tapering. Also, there will not be any rebound effect. I suggest you apply Betamethasone twice daily for 14 days. In addition, take the tablet Cetirizine 10 mg. Consult a specialist doctor, discuss with them, and take medications with their consent.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Shanza Ikram
Dr. Shanza Ikram


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