One of my co-workers ended up with some poison ivy on his ankles and arms, and it reminded me of my favorite home remedy for the horrible itching of a bad case of poison ivy. Now I should stress that when I read this solution I dismissed it completely, but the desperation of having my forearms completely covered in weeping poison ivy sores and other patches all over the place lead me to try it.
Basically all you need is a hair drier, patience, and a tolerance for some moments of intense pain. Set the hair drier to a warm setting. Start off with the lowest setting and work your way up. Keep the hair drier at least six inches away from the area you want to treat and sweeping the airflow back and forth across the area.
It should begin to itch, but at the same time it'll feel almost like you're scratching. You'll know its working when the itching becomes amazingly intense and you literally have to stop because you'll reach your pain threshold. Be careful not to drop the hair drier.
You should notice that after you remove the flow of hot air that the pain subsides very quickly. For me the relief afterwards from the itching and the pain was heavenly. If it doesn't stop burning, however, then run the area under cold water because you're obviously too macho and have burned yourself. This means either your poison ivy isn't that bad, or you're the result of a secret government program to create genetically enhanced killers.
The area will be red and if you have it everywhere like I did you'll end up looking like you just stepped out of a very hot shower or a hot tub. In other words you'll be pink everywhere you treated yourself. I liked to then apply hydro cortisone to the worst areas as it cooled things down and provided extra itching relief.
From what I remember of how neurons work I would guess this remedy actually works because you're basically exhausting the chemicals that trigger the nerves to signal pain/itching. You're still itchy, your body just can't inform you that you are. Each treatment would usually allow me 3-6 hours of sleep, which when you have a really bad case of poison ivy is huge. Oh, and I'm pretty sure the pain spikes releases some endorphins too...yummy endorphins.
If this works for you too let me know, if it doesn't let me know too!