In order to prevent or minimize the itchy rash, you first need to know how you can get poison ivy. First, you can get poison ivy from directly coming in contact with the plant oil itself.
The plants contain an oily substance, called urushiol, which causes an allergic reaction in most people who come into contact with it.
Secondly, you can get poison ivy from an indirect contact with the oily substance. This can be from handling clothing that has come in contact with the oily substance in the plant or it can come from petting your animal that has been romping in the poison ivy near your house.
Thirdly, you can come in contact with urushiol by an airborne contact. Airborne contact occurs when you are burning vegetation and burn poison ivy. The oil can get in the air and can come in contact with your body. For this reason, you should not burn the plant but instead bag it up with gloves and throw it away. Do not forget to wash the gloves as soon as you are done handling the plant.
If you come in contact with the poison ivy plant, you should wash the area as thoroughly as possible with a degreasing soap – like the soap you get at an automotive store. If you do not have that, use regular soap and scrub the urushiol off of the affected area. Wash your hands, too, after you have washed the affected area.
You should remove the clothing you were wearing when you came in contact with the noxious plant and wash it separately from any other laundry. Use a good strong detergent in order to get the oily substance out of the clothing and dry it in the dryer so that the clothing is "baked" in the dryer. This should remove traces of urushiol from the cloths.
If you have to come in contact with the poison ivy plant, wear boots, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. If you are pulling out the weeds, use thick garden gloves. You should wash the garden gloves at the same time you are washing the clothes you were wearing when you came in contact with the plant.
Do not burn the poison ivy as you can come in contact with airborne urushiol. Instead, you should consider bagging up the poison ivy and throwing it away. You can also put it in a compost pile if you do not ever plan to handle the compost.
Remember what poison ivy looks like. It can grow in vines or as small shrubs that have three leaves to a branch, with the middle leaf being on a slightly longer branch. The bushhes tend to cluster together in a patch but can be mixed in with other vegetation. The leaves are green in the summer but turn yellow or red in the fall. They are still able to cause a rash in the fall or even the winter so be wary anytime you see three leaves in a bunch on the same branch.