Thursday, May 28, 2009

Help Me Find the Cure

Until last year I'd never once gotten any kind of poison - ivy, oak, sumac, I was immune to all of it. I didn't even know what the stuff looked like. I've probably peed in the woods and used sumac as toilet paper without repercussion. I discovered last summer that I'd purchased a house with a yard filled with poison ivy, lost my immunity, and spent two months battling the rash and the itch, until I gave up weeding and hired someone to deal with my hedges.

This year I'm committed to doing all the yardwork myself. I now know what poison looks like, and I've been gardening in long sleeves, long pants, gloves. I've been as careful as I can be, yet I'm still getting small outbreaks. It could be that I'm picking it up from the dog, or maybe from the air. At any rate, because I do want to spend time in my yard and because I don't want to garden while wearing a HazMat suit, I'm wondering if anyone knows of anything to do to try to contain, if not avoid, poison ivy.

Here's what hasn't worked:

Technu: This stuff appears to do absolutely nothing except smell bad.

Rubbing alcohol: Applying this everywhere before showering immediately after coming inside might or might not contain the amount of poison I get, but it certainly hasn't prevented it entirely.

Bleach: Lightens the hair on my arms, dries out my skin, does not effect the poison.

OTC hydrocortisone: This does not seem to hasten the drying of the rash one bit, nor does it help with the itch.

Calamine/Caladryl: Relieves the itch, but doesn't seem to hasten healing or prevent spreading.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I really don't want to spend the entire summer walking around with the pink stuff caked all over my extremities.


Catty said...

I think calamine dries it out more quickly and is your best bet. It's a 2 week process with no cure, unless you want to try a major shot of steroids. I am so allergic, as is my son who had it everywhere (eyes, back, waist, privates, etc.) a week or two ago. Good luck getting it all removed! I wish there was a cure or vaccine too!

tunsie said...

ichthammol ointment and benedryl.

Sexy Witch said...

if you want to go a more natural route, try jewelweed; it grows right next to it and looks like this You break open a stem and rub it on the affected area, but you have to do it right away. You can buy jewelweed soap, spray and salve here:


Elucidator said...

Thanks for all the suggestions. Someone also recommended tea tree oil, which I bought yesterday and I have to say that one application dried out all the smaller spots, and kept the larger rashes from itching for 12 hours. Have you tried this, Catty? If the tree tea stops being effective, I'll try the jewelweed.

LVCI said...

Info from internet I found-

The rash caused by poison ivy can spread if there are oils from the plant on gardening tools. "Oil can stay on these types of surfaces for up to 5 years!

atown-liker said...

Poison ivy, one of my favorite topics. When you are finished gardening, wash your face, hands, arms & legs with dawn. Poison ivy is an oil & dawn will get it off of you. You'll probably still get poison ivy where the leaves touched you, but it won't spread. Most people who get a bad case of it spread it around on their skin simply because they didn't wash it off. Wash your gardening clothes right away. Also, if you know you touched poison ivy, you have a few -- up to 10 -- minutes to wash it off before it infects your skin. ... I'm going out to spray mine with roundup in a few.