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,