American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Poison Ivy

Looks like my immunity to poison ivy is gone.

I don't have a bad case of it (I was out pulling the massive hairy vines off the trees a week ago) but I've got little spots in tender locations like the back of my knees that are just driving me crazy.

I find that Vitamin B1 helps me a little with the itching (whether or not that's a placebo effect is unknown to me) and I have Benedryl if it gets really bad.

Ah well, there are ways to regain my immunity and I'm going to be looking into those now. For example, I know that Marty Simon of The Wilderness Learning Center (WLC) has suggested that ingesting the leaves can help one build an immunity. Now that does not mean that you should go out and eat a poison ivy salad. There's a strict discipline he follows and claims he hasn't had a problem with poison ivy in 20+ years and I'm inclined to believe him.

There's an awful lot written out there by folks who have found "the cure" for poison ivy ranging from wiping down exposed areas with diesel fuel to showering in icy cold water with laundry detergent. There's also stories about how the rash is contagious. I believe the rash spreads from the initial point of contact (hands and fingers usually) immediately after initial contact as a person, unaware that they've got urushiol (the oil that causes the rash) on their hands continues to touch their gear and themselves.

I have some motivation now to get this figured out...tiny, itchy, red spots of motivation on the back of my right knee and three nice straight lines up the outside of my left leg.

Thanks for reading,



At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey B,

With most things, increased exposure can increase your sensitivity and allergy. Here at the university staff and grad students have to watch their repetitive tasks as they can over time sensitize a person. For example latex and frogs are a common exposure allergy where folks just starting have no reaction to handling but over time many people develop rashes due to increased exposure. Thus, be careful about eating the poison ivy may be actually decreasing your resistance to it.


At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Wildcat said...

wipe some bleach on the itchy area. it helps with the itching.


At 5:02 PM, Blogger jpr9954 said...

Get some Tecnu. It will wash off the poison ivy oils. It even helps if used after you break out. Many power companies swear by for their linemen. I got because my dogs would brush into PI and then I'd get it.

Tecnu is available in most drug stores as well as WalMart, Target, etc.

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been allergic to poison ivy all my life. From repeated exposure to the plant over time my natural immunity has grown. I still get it, but only from the really older, more virulent kind. Experience has proven for me that the poison is acidic. It can be efectively treated with arm n hammer baking soda made into a paste and applied to the skin. A soaking in bath water run as hot as you can stand with baking soda added will also help both rash and skin. The rash will run its course in a week. If blisters develop, pop and treat with baking soda paste. Try and reduce your intake of acidic foods and drink also.

Good luck with it.


Post a Comment

<< Home