Poison oak — a relative of poison ivy — is a plant found along the Pacific coast of North America that creates a painful rash after it comes in contact with the skin. The itchy rash, caused by the plant's urushiol oil, can take between 24 hours and a full week to appear after a person has touched the plant. While bleach should not be a first recourse for treatment because of the potential for irritation, those suffering from blisters and an itchy rash can get some measure of comfort by carefully creating a compress soaked in a diluted, half-bleach, half-water mixture.
Wash the affected area with warm water and gentle soap.
Pat the skin dry with a washcloth.
Combine equal parts water and household bleach in a small bowl or container.
Dip a clean washcloth into this mixture.
Wring out the washcloth so it is not dripping.
Drape the washcloth over the poison oak-affected skin and leave it on for 30 minutes.
Remove the washcloth and rinse the area with cold water.
Apply a layer of calamine lotion to the affected areas to soothe the skin.
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Ginger Yapp has been writing professionally since 2006, specializing in travel and film topics. Her work has appeared in such publications as "USA Today" and online at Hotels.com. Yapp also has experience writing and editing for a small California newspaper. She earned her B.A. in film and media studies and has worked as an ESL teacher at an international school.