Re: poison ivy
I just got my first case of Poison Ivy EVER and I'm 32. I got it in small patches all over my body. I itched so badly in the first few days, I'd wake up in the middle of the night yelling, to my husband's dismay. To make it worse, new patches kept appearing. The oils must have been spreading or something.
So on day 5, I finally went info-crazy and read everything I could on this crummy plant, and was very interested in a product called Zanfel that I read about everywhere I looked. Zanfel is a scrub that contains a chemical that binds with the chemical in poison ivy that makes you itch. It sounded way too good to be true, and way too expensive to risk it, but I was desparate. And it turned out the pharmacies like CVS and Eckerd stock it so I ran out to CVS and picked it up for -AGHH - $40. Very expensive stuff.
I went home, followed the directions, and used half the tube to scrub away at all the poison ivy and areas around it. The itching lessened by 90%. The following morning, I only had 1 tiny new patch, so as the product recommends, I rescrubbed everything a 2nd time, which did the trick. No new patches formed, and the itching virtually disappeared. The leathery patches on my arms and legs were much less raised.
In addition to using the Zanfel, I've been using a prescription cortisone cream that my doctor prescribed for me, though I'm not sure it really does any better than OTC cortisone cream. It sure didn't stop the itching before I got the Zanfel.
I also used Claritin and Benadryl, but they were none-too-powerful compared to the posion ivy. I really credit this costly scrub with making me feel tons better. Good luck!