Poison Ivy already!

catherinet(5 IN)April 9, 2005

Hi all,

My son has poison ivy all over him. We got rid of it in our backyard over a year ago. He has been playing in the woods, but I guess I didn't realize you could get it before anything had leafed out. Have you heard of that happening? We're wondering if it overwintered on his hat, which hadn't been washed......or a pair of leather gloves. Poor kid. It's so uncomfortable! None of the rest of us have it. Any ideas?

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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

Sorry Cathy, but you can tell your son that he's way behind some of us. I had a rash in January! Of course, since you don't have as much warm weather and sweat during the winter it isn't as bad and seems to go away faster, but that's small comfort when you realize there is no "off season" for the stuff. And yes, the oil will stay on whatever it contacts until you wash it off, and sometimes it takes a few cycles to fully get rid of it. The rash I currently have around my neck and the right side of my face came from my cat, who sleeps there. I have gotten a rash from rubber boots, old flipflops (poison ivy between the toes!!! aarrgghh) and coveralls that hung in the closet all summer. It has come to be a pretty constant condition anymore, and time is really the only cure. Boy oh boy, once the weather really warms up and those pores stay open, watch out. Hope your son gets to feeling better fairly soon...a bad case of pi is no fun!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 7:45AM
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If you have a brush pile somewhere with dead poison ivy in it, he could get it from that too. If he has it on his face, he might need a trip to the doctor, especially if it's around his eyes. I have a lovely looking place on my chin right now from poison ivy. It finds me even when I try to hide from it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 8:17AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks Dirtgirl and Christie,
A couple years ago both my kids got it horribly. They were really gun-shy with being in the woods for a long time, but got over it..........and this is what happens!
I'm very lucky. I just don't get it.....or I'll get one little spot that doesn't bother me. Too bad they didn't inherit my immunity! My son and husband have been clearing out tons of of honesuckle and brush from our ice storm, so I guess he could have gotten it anywhere. Sometimes we wonder about the dog giving it to them too.
I need to invent a good concoction to take care care of it. Right now, the best thing seems to be zinc oxide. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 1:35PM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

You can get a rash from the bare stems as well as the leaves, so you can get poison ivy all year round - my folks were out hiking in the early spring once when they were first married, got to feeling amorous - and ended up with poison ivy in places I don't want to think about! All from the innocuous, unidentifiable brown stems.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 1:44PM
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Saltwater is great for Poison Ivy. When I got my first and only case of it (and it was a bad one), I went to the ocean and dipped. Of course you inlanders don't have much of that around. You might try a salt water soak in the tub, that is if the blisters aren't too deep. I have also used alum in water. It is the stuff you get in the spice aisle. It is used to cure pickles. I heard about this from a burn nurse. They used it in the burn hospital with burn patients. It is a great way to dry up blisters. I agree with DG, there is little to do but wait. Sometimes the docs will put you on prednisone if it is a bad enough case or if it is near the eyes.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 9:04PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Oh Jill.........your poor parents!

Vonyon......maybe I'll tell him to try an epsom salt bath. Thanks for that suggestion!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 10:45PM
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Yah, that might give him some relief or try the alum to dry it up. Either way it will dry itself up, but the interim can be torturous. I had it so bad that it was interupting my sleep. My forearm (which was the worst part of the rash) was covered and had blown up to double it's size. That is why the doc gave me prednisone because it could have resulted in cellulitis. I looked like Popeye! The reason I got it so bad was that I was ripping up roots, and one had scraped the top layer of skin. Of course I didn't realize the roots were poison ivy. Ordinarily, I'm not very sensitive to the stuff. I have also read that your body's reaction will be worse when you have recently had it, so he may want to stay clear of the stuff for the rest of the year. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 1:11PM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Baths with colloidal oatmeal can also help the itching. You can buy it at a drugstore (CVS, Eckerd, etc.)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 7:22PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Oh drat Vonyon.........I was thinking maybe this would give him some immunity this summer! Bummer!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 8:53PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks for that suggestion Jill.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 8:19AM
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Poison ivy rash is a royal pain! For post contact, brown laundry soap and hot water can help to remove the oil (urioshol - spelling?). For some rashes, Tecnu works well ( it's a special soap/cleanser (OTC) that removes the oil and dries the skin (it really does dry the skin- upper peninsula winter type of dry skin).

The worst part about it is that PI has the ability to cause the rash the whole year round, the worst rashes come from pulling it out during the dormant season, roots/stems without leaves. The hairy vine that you pull off a tree is really nasty- it bites back with a PI rash (if you are sensitive to it (most of us are - my opinion based on personal/others experience).

I wound up using a weed-killer on it (reluctantly, PI is good bird food), in my yard, and my neighbor's yards in a selective fashion to eliminate as much of it as I could (my son, neighbor's grandchildren, other neighbor's grandchildren, and other neighbor's children are all susceptible to the rash),

Best advice brown soap/hot water, to remove the oil (pre rash); Tecnu and antihistamines (for mild-moderate cases); see a doctor for severe cases-swelling etc.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 11:33PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

I despise you immune folks!!! If you were to win free gas for a year I would not be more jealous!
My husband, who is one of the luckies, decided he did not like the big PI vine near the garage so he simply took hold of it, planted his feet and PULLED with all his might. It started to come out of the ground, but then the bark just started peeling off and the whole mess got slippery and hard to hold. When he let go to get a better grip, his hands were literally shiny with the oil and he turned towards me with this AWFUL EVIL LOOK...like Nicholson in that "Heeeeeere's Johnny!" moment in the Shining. Yes, I did run away.
He didn't go so far as to actually rub the stuff on me, but if ever he needed to get back at me for something serious, I suspect that would be the first thing he'd think of.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 1:57PM
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DG: And he didn't get it? Wow!! When I was a kid, I wanted to know what all the hoopla was about, so I broke a leaf of it and rubbed it on the top of my hand. It caused a tiny bump and a little itch. Stupid, I know, but I had always been one of those "prove it" types. I have been known to be able to walk through it and things like that, but when I pulled on a root, that is when I got it good. Like I said, the stuff broke the skin, so my guess is that it got directly into the inner tissue. It was horrible and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. All your hubby would need is to get it once good to know why you react as you do.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 7:36PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I hate to tell you this, but I never get it!! I'm sure I'm in contact with it, but it just never develops on me. Sometimes I get a few weird little bumps, but no itching. I wonder if they did a study of people with fibromyalgia, they would find they tended to have less reaction. Sometimes I think, as part of my fibromyalgia, my sympathethic system is on constant overdrive. Maybe that helps to keep the reaction to PI down?
I believe I had it bad once on my back when I was little. My mother set a bottle of pop on the counter for me to stare at and look forward to, and then she scrubbed the area with a brush and fels naptha, and that was the end of it. It's probably too scared to ever come back again!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 8:12PM
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Catherine: I think you have something there. All of the autoimmune diseases do seem to keep other things away. Not that that is any consolation though.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 9:31PM
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I envy your husband's immunity! Although I do (occassionally a get PI rash (it's not bad, it's an inconvenience), DW doesn't, but our son (and his friends do, the same for our neighbor's grandchildren).

Kirkman's laundry soap helps prevent rash when used with hot water, within a half-day's exposure, Tecnu really helps to reduce the rash (and its spread)(but it really dries the skin), but, by accident (no less!) I also found that strong alkalies help to prevent the rash ( weeding (PI) followed by masonary work---not the best solution for everyone---uroshiols are acidic, mortar is alkaline--possible link?), Kirkman's soap is an old formula based on Lye/fatty acid (also alkaline in the final product).

Dang, I envy your husband's immunity.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 11:16PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

He has had only the most minute rashes since I have known him...so small, in fact that we were undecided if it was ever even really due to ivy. In any case, he just sits back and laughs at me when I have it everywhere.
A friend of mine gave me a homemade bar of the lye soap you mention, dadgardens, but it never really seemed to do much for the itch other than dry the skin.
Now another friend gave me a bottle of locally made remedy-gel, and that stuff will burn the hair off you! BUT, it does kill the itch. The label says it contains ethanol, so I guess what I don't put on my neck and arm I could toss into the gas tank and get a few more mpg's of this wonderful 2.35 dollar gas we have here. ha ha

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 12:51AM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Just a warning - I never got PI as a kid in New England - I used to delight in walking through the stuff to annoy people. We must have a different subspecies or something here in PA, because I get this stuff if I so much as look at it! I have gotten some horrible, supporating rashes since we moved here. But I still seem to be safe in New England. Weird.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 8:12AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Did you guys know that you can get a vaccine every year for this? I guess they used to give it more often. My pediatrician told me about it. But since I'm a bit suspicious of vaccines, we haven't had it.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 9:26AM
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Jill: Thanks for the warning. In case I ever leave New England, I'll avoid the stuff.

Cath: I agree, that sounds like a lot of vaccines!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 8:42PM
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I got PI at 62; never had it previously and I was always outside. I thought I could get rid of it in a week or two. Boy, was I wrong. If I ever get it again, I'll go to the doctor. I had it for a month, tried every remedy I could find, even bleach, to no avail. The only way I could sleep was to use very hot water on the area for as long as I could stand it. And I'm told once you have it, it's easier to get! Miserable weed! If its at all a big area, seek medical care ASAP!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 7:17PM
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