Saturday, September 19, 2009

An Itchy Situation!


It’s time to know thine enemy, folks: Poison Ivy

This is killer crap. Hate this plant now!!

And it’s cohorts in crime: Poison Oak and Poison Sumac

Poison Oak doesn't make poison acorns.

Some have indicated that Poison Sumac is worse than the others.

I found a good informational website at

There are some things on this planet that I don’t understand WHY it exists. Snakes, for example, have their fans; but, I cannot stand them. I carried one around at a convention once, stepping beyond my fear for the mere satisfaction of finally seeing all my friends’ mouths drop open and eyes bug out. That was worth it, plus it was a pet. Out in my yard, they just have to watch the sharp edge of my shovel or hoe. I don’t understand things with stingers: I know there are bees that make honey, and I like bumble bees as I have never been stung by either, but yellow jackets serve no purpose as far as I can tell, and neither do wasps. Dirt daubers merely look like they’ll sting you, but I’ve never known anyone to get stung by one yet.

Which brings me to question: What cures lie in the rain forest? Nobody knows, it’s so vast and being destroyed so quickly that we can’t study them. But, Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac are freely available all over the place. Looking harmless, they can create red, burning, itching rashes all over your skin and as long as the oils are available can keep passing from one person to another. Are they here because they hold a certain key ingredient to curing illness? Maybe the medical field should look into it.

In the meantime, I DO know we need to have a “Get Rid Of…” day and everyone go out into the world and work hard to destroy these dumb plants. Run to your local hardware store and get something to kill the junk and spray, spray, spray!

Here is what I’ve learned:
The plants secrete an oil/resin called URUSHIOL OIL (by the way, apparently the Virginia Creeper vine secretes Oxalate Crystals). These chemicals are what causes the rashes. It is best to avoid the plants by knowing what they look like. That’s why I put the images above. I do NOT want you to get this junk on your body. Otherwise, you’ll end up like this:

15 September 2009

16 September 2009

If you DO get it on you, you’ll want to immediately wash with one or two of several different products. My pal Lisa works at the local botanic gardens and says JEWEL WEED is a good washing agent after it gets on you. Another friend of mine, Heather, says a product called Tecnu is good, with a before rash, during rash, and after rash treatment for body and clothes.

Jewel Weed is nature's cure for immediate washing after immediate exposure to those darn poison ivy plants!

Benadryl stopped the itch for me:

I originally soaked in Aveeno bath and applied Aveeno cream, and it helped a little bit. I got more relief from Benadryl Extra Strength ‘Itch Stopping Cream’ and it mentions Poison Ivy on the box. Another big help to calm the itch was green rubbing alcohol, also known as Wintergreen Alcohol. Finally, when I would get in the shower I would get the water as HOT as I could stand it and let that hit the rashes, and it’s wonderful! It feels the same as if you were grinding a scratch on the itchy rash, and hot air from a blow dryer has the same effect. If you itch, just run hot water over it until the itch has settled, then medicate. Here is what the rashes were like by this time.

18 September 2009

I called my dermatologist, Dr. Trautman, when the rashes weren’t getting better. He called in a prescription for me of Fluocinonide gel. Two days later, my rashes became this:

19 September 2009

I think the Fluocinonide gel has been working to help get rid of the poison ivy. So, it’s definitely something you want to look into for treatment.

Keep in mind, this is how I was effected by the plant and products, and everybody is different.

Heck, there’s even some lucky devils out there who don’t have any allergies to poisonous plants at all. Of course, for me, I wouldn’t be so lucky.

Next time I catch poison ivy, I hope I’m luckier:

Much hotness!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

As far as what use these detestable plants have... they're delicious. If you're a non-human herbivore anyway. I'm not reactive to them, but this particular donkey will pass on nibbling... allergic reactions to the urushiol can develop even if you've never had one before. But I know goats, llamas and donkeys do love the plant's foliage, and I've seen deer munching it happily.

Cabby the Okie Donkey