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Poison Ivy


WhatsRNutts
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Hydrocortisone cream won't make it go away directly, but it will help stop the itch and if you scratch less, it's less likely to spread.

 

Generic is fine and it usually comes in either .5% or 1% concentrations.

 

You may also try Caladryl lotion, it is calamine lotion plus an itch reliever. Sometimes that seems to work better for some people.

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Cortizone is actually a steroid, so from what my doc told me can take a few days to kick in. Different over-the-counter products work different depending on the person. I have found Lanacane to be effective to stop the itching.

 

For 38 years I was immune to PI. Then, POOF!, that went away and now I get pretty bad cases of it. Now, I have learned the best medicine is to spot it and avoid it, and if there is a cache I just HAVE to get in a field of PI, I wear protective clothing and am careful in taking it off, then I clean thoroughly after exposure.

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Heat works good. I tried everything and to get it to stop itching, I run it under as hot of water as I can stand and it will stop itching for about two hours. If I have it on my face, I just use a wash cloth and hot water. It really works. Something about the blood rushing to the spot and opening up the area with heat. But it really works.

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I also have to attest to the fact that hot water will temporarily stop the itching. I got into a horrendous patch of PI this summer and had a major breakout, which popped up on top of the atopic dermatitis that I usually have on my arms. My allergist has me on everything under the sun for symptom relief, but the only thing that works on a consistent basis is parboiling the patches with water that is as hot as I can stand. It'll kill the itch for a few hours.

 

I know, I was taught just the opposite in nursing school, but I just gotta go with what works, from personal experience....

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I usually use caladryl (generic). That usually works for me. But, after a bout with Lyme, I had a bad case of allergic dermatitis. Doc put me on prednisone for twelve days. Cleared up the problem quickly, but the mood swings were terrible. Coworkers told me "Now you know what it is like to be pregnant." Stay away from it, if at all possible, but it does work.

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I'll second the plug for Tech Nu. I am highly sucsepti...suscept....suspet..... I am prone to getting PI very easily, all I have to do is look at it just about. Over the years I have tried all sorts of things, and when I finally found out about Tech Nu (through another posting on PI on the GC forums a few years ago) it was like finding a miracle cure. BTW, I do not own stock or anything else in the company...it's just good stuff that works.

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For 38 years I was immune to PI. Then, POOF!, that went away and now I get pretty bad cases of it.

I used to proudly weedwack poison ivy until it was a wet mass all over me, and no problems. Now I got my first case, in my 50's! The pharmacist said your immunity could go away and I didn't buy into that, but now I see I have corraboration. or something like that. I found Band Aid brand Calamine Spray at Wal*Mart to work well... ;) Ingrediants are Calamine, camphor and benzocaine.

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I've only had one case of PI (this summer while geocaching) but it was a bad one. I researched it a lot and found out what works for one person, doesn't always work for another. I used Caladryl to dry it up and then hydrocortisone cream to relieve itch. When the cream stopped working, GoldBond Medicated Lotion did the trick (I was kinda amazed by that). But. . . .all that was on top of a predisone shot and oral meds for 15 days with Benadryl at night. Oh yeah, the HOT showers were the best! Stopped the itch for hours. But a friend of mine says cold is the way to go (didn't do diddly squat for me).

 

My PI was so bad in spots I have scars now. <_<

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As a medical pro, I feel compelled to add my 2¢ worth, for what it's worth (which is about 2¢, I suppose).

 

Just about everything have said thus far in this thread is correct. Aren't we a learned bunch! But I would add a few things.

 

You can indeed be immune (the actual medical term is "anergic," which is the opposite of "allergic") to poison ivy/oak/sumac, and then develop a reaction later in life. One nice thing about the common reaction to PI/O/S is that, unlike bee stings, there is no risk of a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction; the immune response to PI/O/S is different (mediated by your T-cells, rather than IgE, in case you were wondering).

 

Avoidance is the best thing you can do. There's a product on the market I recommend frequently called "IvyBlock." You put it on (it's a lotion) when you're going out for a hike. It contains a substance called bentoquatam that binds to urushiol (the evil poison resin) and prevents it from being absorbed. The manufacturer sells other products as well, but I am less familiar with their efficacy. Their website is http://www.ivyblock.com/.

 

After a hike, be careful in removing any possibly contaminated clothing. And when you wash, don't forget to clean under your fingernails.

 

If do you start developing a rash, you can use the aforementioned Tecnu™ up to 8 hours after exposure to decontaminate your skin and prevent the rash from worsening.

 

If PI/O/S is burned, the resin may become airborne. You can develop a rash from the smoke alone. If you inhale the smoke, you could get really sick in a not-at-all-funny, can't-breathe kind of way.

 

Topical steroids, like hydrocortisone, can work a little. If the rash is wet and weepy, a drying agent is the best thing ("It's gonna take an ocean of Calamine Lotion™...."). Antihistamines, like Benadryl™, aren't generally effective, because by the time you have a rash, the histamines have already been released. They can make you sleepy, however, which can get you through an uncomfortable night. Some folks like Aveeno™ oatmeal baths to sooth their rashes.

 

The "hot shower" treatment is a tried and true method of relieving the itching.

 

If the rash is on the face, genitals (ouchy!), or over a sizeable area, your clinician should recommend a course of prednisone. This can effectively stop the rash in its tracks. Short courses of prednisone pose no longterm health risks and can be taken during pregnancy (but talk to your doctor about it!). One common side effect is a "flipping off the wall like Lucille Ball" jittery reaction, but most people would rather experience that than the rash.

 

Hope this helps!

Edited by Larskydoodle
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So I went to Plano to see family and hit a few caches near the hotel and I think I got poison ivy.  I thought it would go away on its own but it hasn't...and it itches.  Will hydracordazone(sp?) make it go away?

Oh the number of times I have had PI, and the number of treatments I have tried.

 

The best - for me - so far (and I have tried dozens) is as follows.

 

Bad case - for example large area or on my face - a visit to the dermatologist for some prednisone - that works dandy ;)

 

Not so bad case - Zanfel. This stuff works (again, for me) you scrub it into the rash and then rinse well. Supposedly it binds to the urushol and removes it. It's not cheap at $40 for a tube. However, I have found generic store brands (CVS Pharamacy to be specific) that are half the price and work just as well (same ingredients)

 

Tech-Nu does work too. I have used it for years, but Zanfel works better and faster.

 

-dave

Edited by Phonedave
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I still bear the scars from a rather nasty bout of poison ivy. I was working on building a multi in a swamp that would rely on compass bearings once you got to ground zero. I had gotten tired/careless from tripping over the billionth submerged log, and neglected to pay attention to my surroundings.

 

I tried various anti-itch lotions with only limited success.

 

BTW, my decon kits are still out there. Been skeeered to go back! ;)

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If you expect to spend a good deal of time where poison ivy is you might consider some preventative drugs. When I was going to spend a summer in the Adirondacks back in the early 70's for forestry school I had a series of 4 shots of Ivyol in advance and never did get the rash. I can't say for sure I came in contact with PI leaves while there but I was very allergic and seemed to get it far too often in years prior.

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I also have to attest to the fact that hot water will temporarily stop the itching. I got into a horrendous patch of PI this summer and had a major breakout, which popped up on top of the atopic dermatitis that I usually have on my arms. My allergist has me on everything under the sun for symptom relief, but the only thing that works on a consistent basis is parboiling the patches with water that is as hot as I can stand. It'll kill the itch for a few hours.

 

I know, I was taught just the opposite in nursing school, but I just gotta go with what works, from personal experience....

Now that's interesting. Heat made my rash more itchy!

 

However, mine was poison oak--not poison ivy. Maybe they are slightly different poisons?

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<.02>

 

I get itchy just reading the posts! I have become very sensitive to PI over the years, I was one of the "lucky" ones who never had a reaction in my younger days, then one day I bad reaction, and ever since merely looking at a picture of PI causes an itchy rash to appear!

 

I use Zanfel, it stops the itch immediately, and usually only takes one application. It's ridiculously expensive, you get an ounce for $35.00 at drug stores, but I've bought some off of ebay for much less. It's worked for me, YMMV.

 

Good luck!

 

</.02>

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I'll add my endorsement for Zanfel along with the others.

 

Up until this past July, I've been proudly immune to the effects of poison ivy. I do most of my summertime caching in shorts. While caching in NW OH in July I ran into a bunch of poison ivy and didn't give it a second thought. My bad. Having never had PI before, it took me a while to figure out that the initial redness and itching was more than some minor bug bite reaction or scratch. I figured, it can't be PI, I'm immune! Wrong. I ended up with a severe PI rash on both lower legs and feet. By the time I did realize I was having a PI reaction, it was a little late for Zanfel to stop the reaction completely. Though Zanfel did reduce the symptoms, prevent the rash from spreading further and quicken the healing.

 

Later in the summer, I got into another patch of poison ivy. I used Zanfel as soon as the itching started and avoided the rash completely.

 

I haven't used Tecnu on skin, but I have used it to wash the poison ivy oils out of / off of objects. That worked well.

 

Zanfel is now in the caching kit. Tecnu is in the truck.

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I am still breaking out on my face well after one week of exposure. Not sure when it happened and what I was wearing. I used rubbing alcohol on my gps, car keys and steering wheel. Should that do the job?? Seems like it should cut the oil. Am washing suspected clothing in warm water. Have used tecnu on myself. Any other ideas? I am off to thanksgiving looking like I have some sort of communicable disease. :o

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