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Poison Oak!

Zzzoey & illDRIVEuNav

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Any ideas on what to do once it has taken over your epidermis? I tried: Lye Soap, Oatmeal, alcohol, bleach, TecNu, Benadryl, Hydrocortizone cream, Neosporin, Zit cream. It's a wonder I have any skin on my arm left. illDRIVE went to the doc today and got some steroid pills. They wouldn't let me go in with him, even though we have the same thing, got it in the same place (Eugene area) and live in the same house. So.. my appt is tomorrow and I think I want the Cortizone shot. Anyone ever had one? Any OTHER remedies, even just to relieve the insane urge to rub my arms and legs with a stiff bristle brush?


WARNING: I cannot be responsible for the above, as apparently my cats have learned how to type.

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It's too late now for all the removing agents you named, as I assume you have showered and soaped which is adequate for removing the oil. Make sure everything you were wearing goes into the wash too. Tecnu only works as a protective layer if you put it on beforehand or as a removing agent used it immediately after exposure. It is just a fancy expensive surfactant- soap will do. Now it is your owm immune system that is the problem- get the steroid shot if you are going nuts and your physician approves. My first year here I din't know what poison oak looked like and I got it bad and that shot was a great relief!


Now, I know you take your geopup with you everywhere and he is probably still covered with the urushiol. Everytime you pet him you will pick up small amounts of this oil, then touch yourself and trigger a response to that new spot. Soap him, spray him, then repeat. Other hidden places where the devilish oil may still be lurking- dog leash, car handles, car seats, backpack straps- a real nightmare! Soap and wash them all. This will not change how you are feeling now, but will prevent some of the lingering secondary rashes we wetsiders perenially suffer from.


- your friend, the chubby organic chemist

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Originally posted by Zzzoey:

So.. my appt is tomorrow and I think I want the Cortizone shot. Anyone ever had one? Any OTHER remedies, even just to relieve the insane urge to rub my arms and legs with a stiff bristle brush?

My wife who is extremely sensitive to poison oak says that if it is bad, get the Cortizone shot and don't bother with anything else. BTW, I got hit by poison oak in Eugene last year. You have my sympathy.

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What the oxygen will do is dry up the surface area, not remove any oils.


That was off real quick anyway.


The straight air is like a drying agent for the skin.


So will the calomine lotion.


My younger brother and I chopped some poison oak vines way back when and played Tarzan with them. The next morning, neither one of us could see or hardly breath. Off to the hospital we went, for three days.


Since then, I have to litterly scratch and break the skin to catch the stuff, same for my brother.


My dad used to chew the stems for some reason, he did not catch it either.


Now my mother, if she is even in the smoke of brush burning that has any poison oak in it miles away, She catches the stuff.


One of the reasons they moved over here to the dry side.


Let me know how it goes.



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Oxygen Tank? Wow thanks Logscaler but I don't have a torch setup. Must be a Logscaler thing. I don't even have an air compressor, much less a gas-wielding device. I will ask at work though, one of those guys has GOT to know where I can get a pure jet of oxygen, other than say an Oxygen Bar in LA. The best thing I have found so far is straight up benadryl pills every 4 hours to the point of brain-death. I don't know what it is.. but it is the only thing that gets me to think about other things than scratching my skin.... hehe


WARNING: I cannot be responsible for the above, as apparently my cats have learned how to type.

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Three caches we found in the Eugene area were hidden in pretty nasty patches: Little Man by Stampin' Granny, and Wetland Wilds and Geo-Ogre's 100th by Fresh Meat. They were all great caches and the poisonous outcome could've been avoided by studying the gpsr a little less and our surroundings a little more. We saw it, but not until we were into it...


WARNING: I cannot be responsible for the above, as apparently my cats have learned how to type.

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From the "crazy but it just might work" department... if Benadryl taken internally works, then how about some sort of anti-histamine liquid on the skin? Who knows?


The only anti-histamine liquid I can think of is nasal spray.


Great... just wonderful... nasal spray poured into a bandage and soak the itchy skin with it.


Told ya it was a crazy idea!


Then again, if it works... hmmmm... icon_razz.gif


-Elana (a.k.a. "Sparrowhawk")

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From the not-so-crazy idea department... if the iching agent in poison oak is an oil, then theoretically pure alcohol will remove the oil.


OR... dilute the oil in the skin by scrubbing in a bunch of veggie oil, then clean off with strong detergent.


I treated a rather horrid case of hot-pepper oil that got into a skin cut like that once... made me scream until someone made me scrub it with veggie oil, diluting the hot-pepper oil until it hurt less, then finished the job with dishwashing detergent. Actually kinda worked that time. At least made the sting rather tolerable. <shrug> Ya never know...


-Elana (a.k.a. "Sparrowhawk")

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I got poison oak pretty bad a few weeks back from a cache on the Olympic Peninsula. I had a nasty huge spot on my right arm and misc other small spots including one in a very inconvenient place. What ended up working for me was a topical steroid cream that I swiped from my wife. She uses it for excema, after a few days, it went away but at first, man...I'd just scratch the hell out it and it would ooze...


videbo tu in caelum

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I moved from Texas 6 mos ago and I have gotten poison oak a several times now. Even between my fingers. I had to wrap gauze around them to keep them from weeping and sticking together. I have it right now all over my hands again and here is what I have done this time around. I used a product called Zanfel...it is expensive but it has worked for me. The product contains granules along with other ingredients. You scrub the area as needed to take the itch out. I also scrub the area with soap and a kind of loofa like towel I got at Walmart I think. It is a thin like towel that is kind of rough. I then spray the area with Benadryl spray. This time around I again have it between my fingers again and it is all dry. Hope this helps

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There's been lots written in the forums on poison oak. One highly recommended website is The Poison Oak FAQ. Here's some info on remedies.


Each year, poison oak and poison ivy cause about two million cases of skin poisoning serious enough to require medical attention. Once you have a rash, be prepared for insanity-level itching.


Over-the-counter itching remedies worth trying are lotions containing menthol or phenol, and antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine or diphenhydramine. Lotions such as calamine or zinc oxide can provide some relief, and a combination of menthol with and calamine, zinc oxide, and rubbing alcohol can be soothing. Astringents such as witch hazel and zinc oxides will help reduce inflammation and promote healing. Hydrocortisone creams can provide a little relief, but aren't very effective. The big gun--available by prescription from a dermatologist--is halobetasol propionate cream.


Atepid bath with oatmeal or colloidal Aveeno can help. If your skin's too sore to go to the store, run some uncooked rolled oats through the blender till you have a fine flour. Sprinkle that in the bath and get in it--it substantially reduces the itching crazies.


Ashort-term but effective fix is a really hot bath or shower. Heat releases histamine, which is the substance in the skin that causes itching. Extremely hot water will cause intense itching as the histamine is released, but if you gradually increase the water temperature to as hot as you can stand it, the itching subsides as the skin becomes depleted of histamine.


Treatment for severe cases often includes a prescription for topical corticosteroids such as Valisone, Diprosone, Synalar, Aristocort, or Kenalog. Steroids can suppress the immune response to contaminated cells, but topical steroid creams are less effective than oral systemic treatment.


Naturopathic remedies include jewelweed juice, which is contained in "Oak-Away." This product also contains mugwort, goldenseal, comfrey, and chickweed -- a good healing blend. Both "Oak-Away" and the homeopathic formula "Hyland's PoisonIvy/Oak" are available at health food stores. A homeopathic blend worth trying as a preventative contains Rhus toxicodendron 6X (poison ivy/poison oak) Croton tiglium 6X (croton oil) Xerophyllum 6X (basketgrass flower).


Most so-called "barrier creams" or pre-exposure treatments are not effective; most will not actually prevent dermatitis. Zirconium oxide is generally ineffective, and some people experience allergic hypersensitivity to it. "Ivy Shield," however, has shown some limited success, and a Swedish product called "Stokogard" claims to offer protection for up to 10 hours.


"Pre-exposure" products were mostly a disappointment for many years, but there are finally two products on the market that are good as preventive measures: Ivy Block and Work Shield.


One of the most highly-regarded products for dealing with the rash once you've got it is a product called Tecnu Poison Oak-n-Ivy Cleansing Treatment. It was originally designed to remove radioactive dust from the skin in the event of a nuclear catastrophe, and is regarded as one of the best sources of relief for the agony caused by poison oak.


"Do not underestimate the evil of poison oak. If you get a bad case of it and it doesn't kill you, you might wish it would."

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Originally posted by Fresh_Meat:

Myself... not really affected by it and never have worried about catching it. I'm not bragging... just that I don't really know what it might look like to avoid putting caches in the area.

Words of wisdom from The Poison Oak FAQ:


If You Have Never Had Poison Oak:

  • You may not joke about it.

  • You cannot say, "Don't you know what it looks like?"

  • You may not offer your advice on how to treat it.

  • You must show nothing but sympathy, and if it is feigned it must seem genuine.

  • Absolutely no smirking!

  • You are not allowed to intimate that the person who has poison oak deserved it, or is afflicted due to incompetence on their part.

If You Are Immune:

  • All the above rules apply to you.

  • You may never boast of your immunity, and especially never touch poison oak to demonstrate your immunity. I heard of a man who ate a poison oak leaf to show off. This is a justifiable motive for homicide.

  • If you cannot follow the above guidelines, please kill yourself now.

If You Have Had Poison Oak:

  • You must show sympathy, and tell anecdotes about how bad you had it.

  • You may joke and laugh, as long as you make it known that you feel very deep sorrow at the affliction.

  • Feel free to imply that all immune people should be exterminated off the face of the earth.

"My girlfriend and I went on a picnic. I don't know how she did it, but she got poison oak on the brain. When it itched, the only way she could scratch it was to think about sandpaper."

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I scanned over everyone's antidotes for PO and all I can really think Is Bull. I am the one who never thought he could get PO. I could walk through It and I had no problems. A couple years ago I started having BAD reactions to PO. I have literally tried everything I was told to use. I have spent lots of money on stuff with very little results.The only thing that works for me Is time. I buy Aveeno to relieve the itch and try to leave alone. I hate PO and do the best I can to avoid It but somehow I always get It every spring. To everyone who suffers like me trust me I feel your pain but hey at least It shows you arn't sitting around watching tv.


Don't hunt what you can't kill!

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There is no need for your apologies FreshMeat. We find it rather silly that some would judge the cache placer for poison oak being around their cache, when more often than not the PO grows up around the cache well after it's placed. When we first started caching we found a cache that was smack dab in the center of a stinging nettle bush down in KF. We thought it was some sort of evil ploy because we were newbs, but now we've come to expect that cache conditions are just going to change over time. As we said in the original post, if we would've been looking where we were going we would've seen the poison oak... And then we probably still would've blasted through it for the glory of the find. After all, the rash doesn't kick in for another day or two. I remember making verifiable contact with some leaves just once, at wetland wild, and thinking to myself that I was done for. But what was I going to do, stop caching? Witha 15$ prescription and an annoying trip to the doctor the scourge is now drying up, for me anyway. Zzzoey is still hating life. Thanks for all the useful input folks. And don't forget to follow the rules icon_rolleyes.gif




WARNING: I cannot be responsible for the above, as apparently my cats have learned how to type.

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Originally posted by Zzzoey:

We find it rather silly that some would judge the cache placer for poison oak being around their cache, when more often than not the PO grows up around the cache well after it's placed.

Poison oak dies back in the winter and may be hard to identify but it's there. Considering that poison oak is a major problem for many geocachers, it is only good manners for a cache placer to pay attention to what they are doing. There is nothing silly about chiding someone for inviting us to their cache and then hiding it amongst nasty plants.


Certainly, we should learn to identify poison oak if it bothers us and pay attention to route choice, but that is often easier said than done. A thoughtful cache owner will avoid it to begin with and for all those who have, I thank them.


No rules here, just common sense mixed with a little humor.


1828 Captain Frederick Beechey

Found some poison oak and he though it quite peachy

He took it back home, across the sea

All the Brittish gardeners cried with glee

Singin oh oh

Poison Oak

It turns bright red if you give it a poke

Nobody told them, so they didn't know,

That a friend of the devil is a

Friend of Poison Oak

Now they're singin

Oh oh

Poison Oak

It'll drive you mad, It'll kill a bloke

Nobody told them, but they soon knew

This friend of the devil is a

B*tch to me and you.

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