I'm looking for sympathy and suggestions

tonya499(6 UT)July 21, 2006

OK. This is how it went. I came home from vacation and noticed that a kudzu vine was strangling my fledgling dogwood and the hydrangea right next to it. I gloved up and started pulling away. At the end of the kudzu vine was, yes, you guessed it. POISON IVY. I ran into the house like a wild woman and stripped and showered with hot water and lots of soap. That was Sunday. On Tuesday, I had carpal tunnel surgery. Yep, you guessed right again. I have poison ivy under my bandage and it itches like CRAZY!!! I bought some of the new Cortaid Poison Ivy stuff, but it isn't helping. I've also tried Hydrocortisone cream. It helps a little. I can't get that area of my arm wet, and I can't really scratch it either. I don't want to pull my stitches out. This is the part where I'm looking for sympathy and suggestions. I already know how stupid I am. My DH has already pointed that out for me.

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braspadya(z7a MD)

Go to your doctor & get a prescription of steroids in pill form. The pills come in a dose-pack & you take 4 the first day, 3 the next few days, then 2 pills a day.

Just a thought.

And, by the way, I can definitely relate to your discomfort!!!


    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 7:55AM
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You certainly have my sympathy! I agree - get on steroids immediately!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 3:23PM
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Over the counter I would recommend Ruli-Gel. I think it was acquired by Band-Aid and may go under that label now. It's a clear gel, so you don't look pink like calomine. It has worked for me in the past. If you put it in the refrigerator, the coolness on application is also soothing.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 8:46AM
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You have my sympathy because your husband thinks you are stupid. At least you were not lazy and were actually DOING something. How does that make you stupid?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 1:15PM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

Can I please tell you, as the Queen of Poison Ivy, you actually were on the right track? You're probably starting to feel a little better now, but for future reference:

Poison Ivy is an oil. Through radical, total body, steroid-resistant poison ivy, I learned that if I even DREAM I've come in contact with it, it's smoke, chopped bits from the lawn mower, or strong thoughts about it? Wash with a degreasing soap. Lever 2000 is my usual soap. Lava, Dawn dishwashing liquid and some of the Amway degreasers are good. There is a huge difference between a degreaser and a soap. If you know you've just had a spot, put the soap on it with as little water as possible, wait a few minutes and wash it off. I tend to do the whole body thing in the shower, though.

I also have found an absolutely fantastic product, the name of which escapes me. It's something like Zantec or Zantac. It's a cream that has scratchy things in it, like an exfoliant. You put it on with a tiny bit of water and rub it around for awhile. Not only does the scratchy stuff make your eyes roll back in your head it feels so good, the stuff really does neutralizes the itch. It's expensive, but absolutely worth every single cent.

The Cortaid stuff is a whole bunch marketing of hoo-ha and for amateurs. ("Toxins" my little round butt. Gimme a break.) Poison ivy is OIL. Oil soaks in and rubs on to things.

I've also learned if you get it on the inside of your forearms or stomach, you're likely to go systemic. If that happens, the steroids are a fast and relatively easy quick-ish fix. Know that they only give me huge insomnia and the most raging acid reflux I've ever had in my life. However, for most, they work. Screw the pills, go for the shot. You'd have to demand it, though, because I swear doctors like to see us squirm.

Add this Zantac stuff to the picture and the itching is actually gone. No longer a bee-like buzz always in the back of your head.

Be aware that if even in your enthusiasm, you didn't pull out that "kudzu" by the roots? Ivy will return. We can talk about prevention and removal if it does. I am a serious pro. No joke. I had to clear 3 acres of poison ivy so huge we were cutting the vines with a chain saw. I had the most beautiful "trees" in the world, weeping, with white berries. They were ivy vines growing up and around fence posts, growing so tall they were draping over. Fox grape, entertwined with ivy and bind weed were growing over the shrubs around the house like blankets, and up over the roof. I know ivy. Someday I'll tell you the story of how I rubbed it all over my body with my cell phone. Or you can do a search under my ID and Poison Ivy. Imagine having it so bad that your doctor thought you'd poured boiling water over yourself because your skin was so burned. See, I don't blister, I burn. Small blessings? Hard to see 'em when you're wildly scratching.

A thimble of urishol (sp?) could give the entire city of New York poison ivy and was a major componant in mustard gas in WWI. It is also present in all plants, just like blood in humans. It's the degree to which we're allergic to it that indicates its presence, and some plants, like poison ivy and sumac, just ooze it. The underside is supposed to be silverish, but by the time I'm looking, it's too late. In I run to the Lever 2000.

Hang tight. There are ways to make this stuff feel better.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 8:09AM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

Zanfel. That gritty cream is called Zanfel and it is pretty good stuff - and available over-the-counter. It's very expensive ($35 or more for a little tube), so I use it only when I've already got a rash.

I would guess you're past the worst of it now, but Tecnu is a good degreasing wash. If I know for a fact that I've been in contact with PI, I also wash with chlorine bleach, straight from the bottle and then wash that off with Dawn dish detergent. I throw the clothes away that I was working in. My skin doesn't react as badly as Christine's does, but I am pretty susceptible.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 5:29PM
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My DH is hugely reactive to Poison Ivy, so I have every anti-Ivy product known to mankind (except Zanfel, which I only heard of recently). Tecnu is indeed a good wash, and their Ivy Block works if you ever find yourself in need of wading into the midst of Poison Ivy again. It doesn't mean that you can do stupid things, just gives you a little extra protection, just in case.

BTW, when DH's poison ivy rash got really bad (and by that, I mean that it drove DH to actually see a doctor), Predinisone worked really well.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 5:35PM
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I am really really really allergic to PI. Like others, if I even think I have come into contact I immediately wash with dish detergent, which is after all supposed to remove grease/oil. I use Trader Joe's and keep a bottle in the shower during the whole gardening season. I wash with it every time I work outside over my whole body. I use a moisturizer after if I feel like I am turning into a dried up old crone. I wash my clothes ( I can't afford to throw them away!!) in hot water with Wisk, TWICE. In the past few years using this regime I have had a few minor patches but nothing requiring the doctor visits of old. Oh -- and I decided that I had to break my "no chemicals in the yard" rule and use Roundup when I see the dastardly stuff. Tonya, I feel your itch. . .

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 5:48PM
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Brent_In_NoVA(z7/6 VA)

BTW...while we are talking about Poison Ivy...all the recommendations that I have seen call for washing your skin in COLD water. Apparently hot water opens up your pores allowing urushiol to penetrate deeper. I noticed some Poison Ivy growing up through one of my Pieris Japonica shrubs...I know I have to get out there and pull it...but that stuff scares me!

Good luck Tonya!

- Brent

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 11:48AM
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tonya499(6 UT)

I want to thank you all for your support during this terrible ordeal. I've never reacted to PI before this year. But, I am finally over it. (BTW, the carpal tunnel surgery was a piece of cake.) My husband was right though, I was stupid to pull weeds in a known PI area 2 days before hand surgery. These are the lessons I've learned: #1 Don't be stupid (see above) #2 Keep Zanfel or some form of PI scrub in the shower at all times during gardening season and #3 pay someone to do your weeding. :-) Now if only my husband would learn #3..... New problem, the PI has taken over. It is everywhere. What to do? I'm thinking of digging up my shrubs in that area and spraying it quite liberally with Ortho's PI killer. I'm willing to sacrifice the annuals. It has come to that.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 6:39PM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

Well, it's easier to work with PI in the winter. You still can't be stupid, but when there aren't any leaves, there's less chance of touching it. Spray what you can get at with RoundUp now. In the winter, use loppers to reach in and cut the vines at the base. Wash as directed above. Spray regrowth with RoundUp in the spring. Repeat as needed. Watch for seedlings forever. If you buy a box of disposable surgical gloves, you can put one on, pull the seedlings and throw the glove away - peeling it off so it ends up inside out.

I am really sorry you still have to deal with this stuff. I used to have nightmares about poison ivy when I lived in a more rural area and struggled with it year round.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 6:36PM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

I'll help you if you still need help eradicating the PI. I am not afraid (not to be confused with fearlessness) of ripping it out by the roots. I have such confidence in degreasing soap that I even mow it now. It goes up in the air like the grass cuttings. If I don't wash, it's like having a PI facial. Washing (in cold water -- good Brent!)? I'm fine.

Let me know where you are and if you need help. I am a firm believer in Round-Up, also my only chemical.



    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 8:15AM
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creatrix(z7 VA)

I've found that adding a few drops of dish soap to the Round-up really helps when spraying poison or English ivy. It helps the chemicals stick to the glossy leaves.

I use a pump sprayer, and with the nozzle set on med. spray (more like droplets than a mist), I can get into shrubs and spray evil weeds without hurting the shrub. Of course, this is not done on windy days!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 1:06AM
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