Oh, Annette - I feel so bad for you. It figures you'd get it on your face, of all places. Did this happen during a gardening incident?
It's strange - I've never gotten poison ivy. I've always been around it, but I guess I'm either resistant or just lucky.
I had a friend who never got poison ivy, either, UNTIL she went to summer camp and somebody dared her to eat the stuff. Talk about a sore throat!
Cecilia, watch out. I never got it either until suddenly in my mid 30s my immunity disappeared!
I used to be immune, but through repeated exposure at summer camp growing up, I started to get it -- worse every year. Now I have to avoid hiking altogether. Here are my family's "magic bullets" (all of us kids ended up very susceptible):
Domeboro -- tablets you dissolve in cold water and then use a washcloth to soak your poison ivy with -- lots of soaking will definitely help you feel better. I think it may be prescription-only, though.
Betamethasone diproprionate -- I think one brand name is Dipronyl? -- is the sure thing -- it GETS RID OF the poison ivy! after a few consistent days of use -- but it is prescription-only. You'd need to go see your doctor and ask for a prescription. Also, I think it is a steroid -- mildly -- it makes me feel very emotional when I have to use it, even though it is just a topical skin cream.
Finally, just to give you hope -- poison ivy lasts three weeks. In three weeks, this burden will be gone, no matter what. Good luck!
I saw all that ivy when I dropped off and picked up at your house. I was wondering why it was there. I guess you didn't realize what it was?
I came to gardenweb because I was looking for a way to get rid of the ivy and brambles that literally covered my house when we moved in. I had beautiful, weeping trees along our fence line that I later realized were poison ivy so thick, it was growing up the fence posts, up into the air and draping down to the ground.
Needless to say I ended up with my first, sadly steroid-resistant case of ivy. I, too, heretofore had been immune. Now longer. The story is here somewhere about how cell phones cause poison ivy, but that's that thread. I now get it from the dirt even the roots grow in. That Urshol oil is evil!
Anyway, I find now, that after I garden or within 20 minutes of exposure, if I wash with a degreaser, such as Lever soap or Dawn dishwashing liquid, I don't break out. The trick is to use as little water (don't spread oil) as possible, rub it onto you, wait a few minutes, then shower as normal.
I bought jewelweed soap and spray. I bought all the fancy bath things (oatmeal? How totally gross.) However, once it's systemic, these are a waste of time and money. I also learned that if you get it on the inside of your forearms, you're more likely to go systemic, sooner. Go figure. Dermotologists know lots of stuff, don't they?
Anyway, there is a single thing that also helped when the steroids were only giving me acid reflux and insomina. It's something called Zentech or Zanfel, or something that sounds like Zanex. It's a paste that feels like an exfoliant. You put it on, rub it around with as little water as possible for some seconds. Not only do those little granules feel almost orgasmic, they're a secret way to sneak in a good scratch. Anyway, it's expensive, but absolutely did the trick for me.
I do, however, swear by the degreasing soap. Good luck. This is tough stuff!
cecilia, I think I got this I got this running thought the woods near the kids playground. I saw some and warned the kids not to touch it. but now I am not so sure...
Christine! where did you see it at my house?!!! I thought I just had a bunch of virgina creeper, and the neighbors annoying ivy!
I just have to stand near it and it seemes and it gets on me!
I get it every year and it seems liek I get it more easily then the last year.
when we first moved in there was lots of ivy and virgina creeper in the back along with tons of other stuff. I riped out alot of it. ( how I got it last year)
i really hope that it isnt returning back there.
maybe I will post some pictures of the stuff thats growing back there and you guys can help me acess the situation.
btw I am on steroids and it is much better ( but still awful)
Julia, 3 weeks! sounds like forever!!!
Costs about $35 for a little, tiny tube but it does help. Very few drugstores carry it and you have to ask at the pharmacy desk, though it is not a prescription drug. I guess they keep it back there because it's so expensive. There's a cheaper degreasing wash that helps called Tecnu which you can get at most any Southern States or drugstore. Bleach also reduces the chance that exposure will lead to rash, though it's hard on your skin and on your face, it would be tough, indeed.
If it turns out it's in your yard and trees, leave it there until winter and cut the vines at the base of the tree sometime after Christmas. Wash your tools with bleach when you're done or invest in an inexpensive pair of pruners and just throw them out. Patrol the area with Roundup forever after that. Pick up a box of surgical gloves at a drugstore for pulling up seedlings.
If your neighbors have it, you will get seedlings - as I learned the hard way until I started to clear out the five acres (FIVE ACRES!) of woods that surrounded my old house.
The cure to getting Poison Ivy off of your body!
The irritant in poison ivy is urushoil. It is a sticky oil.
If you come into contact with it, it will cause problems until it is removed from your skin and anything that comes in contact with your skin. There are several products sold just for this.
I'm very allergic to urushoil and have tried many. The best and most readily available is the same soap that your mechanic uses to remove motor oil from their hands.
Because urushoil is a sticky oil it does require a little more scrubbing but it works 100%.
Directions for removal:
1.Apply the [mechanics] soap dry (DO NOT ADD WATER) to the affected area.
2. Scrub for 2 minutes.
3. Wash off completely with COLD water. If you use hot water, then you may be in for an unpleasant surprise!
Note: The residue soap will now contain the urushoil, and when the residue drys it may become sticky oil again.
4. All itchiness should be gone. If not repeat the process.
I like Lava and JoJo brands the best. The grittier the better.
Walmart, KMart, Your local auto parts store will all carry this soap. I usually buy the 16 oz squeeze bottles for around ~$2.
This soap also gets the urushiol and many stains out of clothes. Just be sure to hose the residue off the clothes before adding them to your laundry.
I also use Dawn Dishwashing Liquid now. It's a degreaser, not just a dish soap.
I've actually had luck putting it all over my body before I go mow. Of course, I shower immediately.
This year, I've had poison ivy so badly that it's now gone systemic. Again. Riding the mower for 4 hours, with the darn stuff going down into my shirt and pants, then squishing around on it? I have such a chemical burn my skin is cracking.
God bless Zanfel. Do not accept the Technu or generic substitutes. They do not work as Zanfel does. You truly get what you pay for, and when your butt is burned? the $39.00 is worth every, single, penny.
I can't believe I react so quickly these days. I have to rearrange my mowing schedule so that I mow the poison ivy area after I get the other 3 hours done. If I can get into the shower (yes, cold water!) immediately, no poison ivy.
Annette, did your ivy come back this year? Your yard was pretty rife with the stuff and will return from a tiny speck of root in the grass. Evil. Makes my hair stand on end.