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Poison Ivy


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If there's a lot of poison ivy (or oak, around here) in the cache area, most owners mention it. But it's also up to geocachers to learn what it looks like -- it isn't difficult to identify. I certainly wouldn't hide a cache in a spot where poison plants are unavoidable, but there's going to be some poison oak near almost any creekside cache, around here. On one of our caches, there's poison oak within a few feet, but there's also a huge, wide, open path to the cache that has no poison oak at all, the hiding spot is a blatant pile of geo-camouflage, and the description says, "It's not in the poison oak." If that weren't adequate, I think we'd have to declare the whole park off-limits to geocaching, because it really is everywhere. (I got a lovely rash doing someone else's cache in the same park, but I don't blame them!)

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Bugs Fly away, Snakes crawl Off, wet feet dry off, PI hurts for weeks - if recomendations like no knives and drugs, Alcohol and ETC - can't we be careful of something that is known to be a problem and hard to notice for alot of people. Again that stuff can be mean and it is there everytime anyone goes to it. The 1st Cacher of the day breaks up the plants and the next cachers get a worse dose of it.

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Bugs Fly away, Snakes crawl Off, wet feet dry off, PI hurts for weeks - if recomendations like no knives and drugs, Alcohol and ETC - can't we be careful of something that is known to be a problem and hard to notice for alot of people. Again that stuff can be mean and it is there everytime anyone goes to it. The 1st Cacher of the day breaks up the plants and the next cachers get a worse dose of it.

I suffered from a fairly severe case last summer, but that doesn't mean it's always controllable (and snakes don't always crawl off, at least not some I've met). I hate the stuff too. However, if you place a cache in the winter or early spring, the "leaves of three" may not be evident and that's the way most recognize it. Hiders should do their best to avoid it, but please don't hold them responsible for Mother Nature.

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We would never shy away from a cache because of poison ivy. It doesnt bother me at all. Now my wife on the other hand is just the opposite and she had gotten the itchy rashy symptoms several times in our first year or two of caching. As far as putting a cache in the middle of a poison ivy plantation,,, thats up to the hider and it would just make it part of the challenge for us. I know that there are some people who are probably deathly allergic to the stuff, and for this reason it wouldnt hurt for a cache owner to state on his cache page when poison ivy might be encountered.

 

On a similar note: There is a drug mixture that you can get to help keep you from breaking out. Its called Rhus Tox and my wife has a local pharmacy make it up. She takes it every 6 months and so far she has had very goodluck with it. We've definitely encountered lots of poison ivy but she hasnt broken out in the last year and a half! :)

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Fortunately, I don't react too much to poison oak, just a little rash, so I don't object to them, since what's the point in objecting to mother nature?

 

I'm still careful about not touching them, and I try to place my caches away from them. Due to this year's prolonged rain season in California, their infestation is the worst I've seen, forcing me to move at least one of my caches a few feet.

 

Geocaching is an outdoor activity, so people should always be alert for poison plants, just as we are supposed to always carry driver's licenses when we drive on the roads.

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I only began to get reactions to PI about 7 months ago. Prior to that time, I could roll around in the stuff with no adverse reaction. So much for the glory days. :)

 

So, now as someone that PI can significantly impact, I find it difficult to "object" to a cache placed near PI. The key is the cache owner identifying the cache has poison ivy (or oak, sumac, or whatever) in the vicinity. That way, I can prepare for it appropriately. In an area that gets humid and 90+ in the summer months, what I choose to wear in an area with our without poison ivy makes a huge difference. If I know PI is near a cache, I'll wear long sleeves, pants, and pack along some gloves. If PI free, shorts and short sleeves are definately more comfotable.

 

I really object to ANYTHING than can cause injury or discomfort that is not included in a cache description or attributes. Even in the cases where something like PI is not mentioned, I do not take it personally. Perhaps the cache was placed in winter, and PI could not be determined. Usually a polite note to the cache owner is sufficient enough for them to appropriately warn future cachers.

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The question has to be how close to a cache is too close. If you have a 1/4 mile walk in through the mother of all PI patches and there isn't a plant within 100 feet of the cache what's the difference?

 

I have a 5/5 hide and the local PI while non-exhistant within 50 feet the cache is something I considered because getting there might walk you through it over tough ground. I think you owe it to the people coming to a cache to give them an idea what they are getting into, especially because kids are involved so often.

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I cached in S. Georgia and S. Alabama over the Memorial Day weekend. I was able to squeeze in 10 caches between the family reunion, sightseeing, and visits. I found the last cache, Popeye the Sailor Man, Sunday night, in Albany Ga, just as it was getting dark. Tueday morning at work I noticed some white bumps on the forearm of my left arm. I looked it over and had a dozen of clustered white bumps. I went to the cache page of my last find and it has a warning sign for poison plants. :D Looks like I might have found some poison oak while plowing through the brush. Lesson learned. :D

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Thanks for the tip about Rhus Tox - that might be really helpful. I am amazed at the tolerance for this plant but I understand completely. Let me ask this question - if I asked your permisssion to return and eradicate the PI only (I know how) from YOUR cache in the interest enhancing the experience to be more positive. What would be your response ???. I have done this with briars and got good response from the cache owners. I am assuming the PI is not an intended part of the hunt.

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I am very allergic to poison ivy. If I come in contact with it I usually have to get a shot from the doctor because of the blisters. Does it keep me from geocaching? No. What I worry about in places with Poison Ivy is the reception that my GPS is receiving. Usually if I am in Poison Ivy, I am searching for a cache that has a lot of tree cover.

 

I guess I should be more like Jeep_Dog and dress for the stuff. But High Humidity and High Temp isn't exactly long sleeve weather for me. And usually I plan on getting wet after the cache as most are near streams, rivers, or waterfalls. So I usually choose to run the risk and search for the cache in shorts. Then on Monday I call my doctor and tell him to get the needle ready. :D

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I agree with others that depending on the time of year that the cache was hidden, the P.I. may not have been evident. I did, however, find one buried in an old tree trunk that was encased in large hairy P.I. vines that should have been obvious to the hider, even in the dead of winter. I started carrying stuff called Tec-Nu in my pack and some wet wipes. If I suspect that I've made contact, I do a quick preventive wipe down with that and do not usually have a problem later. You can get the stuff at Wal-Mart. Sure beats itching and blisters and needles. :D

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I'm in NC, too, and the poison ivy here is really bad this time of year. I doubt that most folks intentionally put it in the stuff. More often than not, caches in PI were probably hidden in colder months when there was nothing in the area. I had to check on a couple of my caches recently that were hidden in a cooler time of the year when there was nothing there, but right now it is pretty bad in some of those areas. I had to update the cache page attributes for it.

 

I got it really bad a few times last year, mostly because I just threw caution to the wind and didn't take precautions at all. I still go out and shorts and will stomp around in it, but carry water and paper towels specifically for the post-cache rinse off I always do now once I'm clear of the nasty stuff. It doesn't take care of it 100%, but that little rinse off has cut my reaction down to just a few spots now and again.

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I have tried standing near the cache coordinates and objecting loudly, but it didn't do any good--the PI kept right on growing.

 

I have walked away from cache searches more than once because it appeared that I was going to have to wade into the stuff. I have also walked away from caches that are in briars, on private property, or otherwise objectionable. That's how I prove to myself that I'm not really obsessed--just enthusiastic.

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I certainly appreciate the problem you have with PI. However, it's like anything else, you prepare for the elements and you know your limits. If you can't get within a few feet of the stuff without getting a reaction then it's up to you to decide if it's worth it to continue with the hunt. If you're in a region where PI is common, then you should expect it on just about every cache and be prepared. On Long Island it's extremely common so I usually carry PI Block or something like it. Works well for me, your results may vary.

 

if I asked your permission to return and eradicate the PI only (I know how) from YOUR cache in the interest enhancing the experience to be more positive. What would be your response ???

 

I guess I'd ask how you plan on eradicating the PI with out killing the harmless stuff around it.

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I agree with the earlier comment that the PI is an obstacle just as are the snakes, bugs, etc. and, as long as it is listed on the cache description page, shouldn't be an issue. The description page lets you consider for your self whether you want to pursue it or not.

 

Even if there was a rule created to prevent placing caches alongside PI, there would still be the following considerations:

 

1. There are plenty of people who would place a cache that have no idea what PI even looks like.

 

2. There are too many people who would RELY on their being no PI in the area BECAUSE of the rule and they would inevetibly be affected even more due to teir fearlessness of the "PI-free" cache.

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Long sleeve shirts, gloves and long pants always pertected me as a wildland firefighter from the PO/PI. I took a shower and washed the clothes immediately following my exposure to it and never had a problem. This weekend my wife and I did some searching in shorts and a T-shirt and I have been scratching since. I don't remember being in contact with any but it was obviously around. :D

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Also, many caches are placed in the winter, when the PI is no obvious. This is one reason why cache maintenance is important. And maintenance means updating the cahce listing with any important changes to the conditions, cache attributes, etc.

 

The experienced cacher knows enough to read the recent logs, which will probably mention any significant obstacles (assuming that people survived them, of course). If the last 3 or 4 log entries mention serious PI problems, then maybe I want to look for one of the other 172,000 caches that are out there.

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If you have problems with PI rashes, you might want to try out Zanfel. It's supposed to be able to remove the oils from your skin even after it has bonded and the rash has developed. It's expensive ($40 or so for a 1 oz tube), but it's the closest thing to a cure.

Edited by Stunod
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If you have problems with PI rashes, you might want to try out Zanfel.  It's supposed to be able to remove the oils from your skin even after it has bonded and the rash has developed.  It's expensive ($40 or so for a 1 oz tube), but it's the closest thing to a cure.

Yep, Zanfel's the best stuff I used when suffering an extensive outbreak last year. Tried cheaper remedies (Caladryl/Calaclear, Benadryl Anti-Itch, hydrocortisone anti-itch creams, etc.), but they provided only temporary relief and minor drying. Zanfel was expensive, but did the trick when the directions were followed, and that seemed to be the key.

 

On the inexpensive side, Burt's Bees poison-ivy soap helped take care of minor outbreaks as well or better than the other stuff I tried apart from Zanfel. There's another one, Tecnu(sp?), that I've read is also effective.

 

edit: item title

Edited by Teach2Learn
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I'm fortunate PI doesn't bother me much at all, but I try to avoid hiding it becuase I know it can be bad for some people. I don't hide in PI cause that's just downright cruel, but it has popped up around some of my hides with the changing of the seasons.

 

Something that helps my buds who get PI bad is the Burts Bee PI soap. One of them has to go to the doctor most of the time he gets into it and that soap has it gone in 2 days without a co-pay.

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If I ever saw poison ivy or oak growing near a local cache, I'd report it to the appropriate authorities and they'd come and eradicate it for me.

 

Isn't the Australian government helpful?

:rolleyes:

 

(Mind you, given that 9 of the world's 10 most venomous arachnids are native to Australia, we really don't need need anything else that's nasty!)

 

I was paranoid about the stuff when caching in the US. Since I was in Arizona, though, mostly what I saw was cacti and sagebrush!

 

And I weren't et by no bars, neither.

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I only began to get reactions to PI about 7 months ago.  Prior to that time, I could roll around in the stuff with no adverse reaction.  So much for the glory days...  <_<

I keep wondering if (and when) that is going to happen to me. Over the past 40 years, I have not bothered to avoid it; I even pull it up by the roots, bare handed, to clear a bed when I'm camping. I have joked many times that I will someday make PI tea, or soup. But it doesn't really sound tasty, and I'm not as dumb as I look.

 

At any rate, I will continue to frolic, rock and roll, and sleep in poison ivy until that happens. I figure, if it feels good, do it. :D:rolleyes::(

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If I ever saw poison ivy or oak growing near a local cache, I'd report it to the appropriate authorities and they'd come and eradicate it for me.

 

Not even the most dedicated liberal in the USA would expect the government to take on that task. It's not unusual in my part of the country (Rhode Island) to find places where PI is the dominant plant species. I walked down a trail two days ago that was completely lined with PI on both sides. It's easily identifiable, though, and one must simply be careful.

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I've only been at this a short time but here in NJ I haven't seen a cache that doesn't have PI nearby. I've never had the rash even though I know I've been in it but read the next paragraph.

 

I saw my neighbor ripping out PI in her yard and cautioned her to at least wear gloves. She said the same thing I said "I've never had it." The following week she was scheduled for surgery. Guess what she's laying in a hospital bed covered with PI rash. My point is our bodies change as we get older and just stop tolerating what we used to do when younger. Don't assume you won't get it. I always shower well after being out hiking or caching. So far so good but don't bet the farm.

 

Mike

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