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Ugh! Afflicted With Poison Ivy


lowracer
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I made the mistake of delaying the post-caching wash-up last week, and now I'm paying the price. I'll spare you and not post any photos.

 

Who else is suffering with caching-related poison ivy? Have you got any good techniques or medicines for coping with it?

 

I found this stuff at the drugstore called Benadryl Itch Stopping Gel. Not going to cure the poison ivy or anything, but it does make it not itch at all, which is great. It has alcohol in it which I am hoping will help keep these nasty areas from getting infected.

 

im_ben_itch_gel.jpg

 

I'm also hoping this mess will just clear up in a week or two and I won't have to go get a steroid shot and a dose of methylprednisolone.

 

I can remember as a kid when I'd get poison ivy they'd slather me up in with some kind of pinkish lotion which dried on contact and if anything seemed to make the itching worse. Glad we have better options today.

Edited by lowracer
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I can remember as a kid when I'd get poison ivy they'd slather me up in with some kind of pinkish lotion which dried on contact and if anything seemed to make the itching worse. Glad we have better options today.

 

I think that may have been Calamine lotion ?

 

a google result

 

Calamine lotion dries the oozing and weeping of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Soothes the irritation of the most common skin rashes. Active Ingredient: Calamine, Zinc Oxide. Inactive ingredients: Bentonite, Magma, calcium Hydroxide, Glycerin and Purified Water.

 

Edit to inlcude:

 

Oh, and good luck! That stuff sucks!!!

Edited by Pto
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Getting over it myself right now. If I look at poison *** (fill in your choice) wrong, I get it. I have found Rhuli gel by Band-Aid does a great job on the itch, and this time I got a topical steroid called Triamcinolone Cream .5% (via prescription). It is pretty strong stuff so unless you are having a bad reaction or are severely sensitive, you might want to try one of the less concentrated strengths.

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im_ben_itch_gel.jpg

I use that stuff, too. It's great. Much better than the spray on version. The only problem is if you have hairy arms or legs (or backs or...) it is kind tough to get the gel down to the skin.

 

Isn't there an OTC drug that literally pulls the oils out of the rash and will clear it up in a day or two? Not the stuff you can wash with after exposure, but this works after the rash breaks out. Anybody remember what it's called?

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Got it all over my hands and forearms right now. Between the fingers...yeeeeeahhhh! its driving me crazy. I wanted to cut my hands off! Been using Benedryl. Caladryl, Cortizone 10, you name it and it doesn't work.

 

The wife was pulling weeds in a corner of the yard where I warned here there was PI. She said fine, she'll wash up right away. Then later she asked me to bring the plastic leaf bags to the dump. Well apparently she was handling the bags with the gloves she used to pull the PI and I got it from the bags. Worst case I've had in years.

 

:)

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careful with the stuff that has the benedryl type stuff in it -

 

there was a thread here a week or so with a link to a doctors page that said this could cause other reactions -

 

I always used caladryl as a kid (haven't had it in years!!!! knock on placstic!)

 

it has a drying affect and always did a decent job with the itch - it you have a really bad case you might check out using oatmeal on it -

 

feel your pain -ewooo between the fingers? Next time you'll use gloves too?

 

I keep gloves with me for caching too.

 

Just a hint 0

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For 53 years I NEVER had PI, but some time about a month ago, I found it. Both lower arms and it started trying to spread elsewhere. Used half a bottle of Caladryl.

 

I'm looking at a tube of prescription Fluocinonide Cream USP, 0.05%. That finished it off in a few days. Left over from my sister's serious infection. Just a few "scars" visible now. Then on Saturday my hand brushed through PI at Wingfoot Wonder cache....but I washed.

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If you think you have come in contact with Poision Ivy, then wash up as soon as you can with COLD water, but do not scrub, only rinse, as scrubbing will just infect more area of your body.

 

To cure the itch, and dry up the sores, wipe them with bleach, like clorox.

 

I find that swimming in a chlorinated pool, or sitting in a chlorinated hot tub is the best cure myself.

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I find that swimming in a chlorinated pool, or sitting in a chlorinated hot tub is the best cure myself.

I have heard this too. I will try it. Unfortunately it will have to wait until nighttime. If I went out there today I would cause a mass panic when they saw this oozing red patchy monster heading for the water. Of course I would have the pool all to myself then... :)

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If you have a bad case, call your MD right away. You can get an oral steroid that really works wonders. I can't remember the name, but it comes in a blister pack. You take 7 today, 6 tomorrow, 5 the next day, etc.

 

I had two bad cases last year back to back---poison oak is the most common shrub in California---oh the joys of geocaching. Both times, the Rx knocked the rash and the itching down almost immediately.

 

All the lotions and the creams are only band-aid approaches. When it's bad, go for the good stuff as soon as you can.

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If you have a bad case, call your MD right away. You can get an oral steroid that really works wonders. I can't remember the name, but it comes in a blister pack. You take 7 today, 6 tomorrow, 5 the next day, etc.

 

I had two bad cases last year back to back---poison oak is the most common shrub in California---oh the joys of geocaching. Both times, the Rx knocked the rash and the itching down almost immediately.

 

All the lotions and the creams are only band-aid approaches. When it's bad, go for the good stuff as soon as you can.

nice to know thanks -

 

my wife can get it by looking at it -

 

she caries TecNu with her on the trail - and won't follow me if she can see a hint of it -

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I still have a hard time identifying it out on a trail when there are so many other green things out there. I mean you're brushing up against so much stuff on a hike. A snake is a snake, avoid them all, but that's impossible with leafy things. I would like to know if there is something like a wet wipe that I can put in my gache-pack and just clean off after every hunt.

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I bought a tube of a cream called Zanfel. I bought it on-line but I've recently seen it in a drug store on the shelf. It claims to be able to remove the urishiol from the cells after it has bonded. I bought it after the last time that I had poison oak so I haven't been able to try it out. It cost me about $40 for a small tube but if it works, it'll be well worth it. I'm allergic to PO so it lasts about 4-6 weeks when I get it.

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I bought a tube of a cream called Zanfel. I bought it on-line but I've recently seen it in a drug store on the shelf. It claims to be able to remove the urishiol from the cells after it has bonded. I bought it after the last time that I had poison oak so I haven't been able to try it out. It cost me about $40 for a small tube but if it works, it'll be well worth it. I'm allergic to PO so it lasts about 4-6 weeks when I get it.

Yes! That's the stuff I was asking about. Thank you! :)

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As part of the "Go and Get 'Em 5" Ottawa caching event I did Hidden in a Hurry, and since I was not terribly experienced I spent about a 40 minutes tromping about in the woods looking for this thing. Never once did I notice poison ivy, or even think to look for it -- but if you look at the logs, you'll see that LOTs of other people did.

 

It's been a week, and no reaction, so I'm hoping there was nothing. On the other hand, I've read that you generally don't react to your first exposure. So maybe I just used up my "get out of jail free" card.

 

Will be more careful in the future!

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You can get an oral steroid that really works wonders.  I can't remember the name, but it comes in a blister pack.  You take 7 today, 6 tomorrow, 5 the next day, etc.

 

That would be methylprednisone.

 

Edit - had to fix the spelling.

thats what i was going to say! I had poison ivy a few years back and was prescribed this worked great. I got poison ivy 2 weeks ago and used ointments and all this junk for a week, looked like it was doing better till it started to spread.

 

went to the doctor and had some more methylprednisone prescribed and the visible rash was gone in about 3 days, and stopped itching after about a day.

 

I couldnt find my presription card, but it was only $10 for a week supply at the pharmacy.

 

aj

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I'm just getting over my worst case ever - in multiple spots in both legs :) I pretty much left it alone and let it go away on its own.

Zack, this sounds exactly like my case. Mind if I ask how long did it take to clear up?

 

I've gone the Medrol dosepak (methylprednisolone) route before. That and prednisone both weird me out to the point where I feel like I'm going insane. Intense anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, extreme confusion. Not a pleasant experience. I'll take the ooze and itch any day over going insane.

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I'd like to add to the posts mentioning Tecnu. It's great stuff, doesn't cost that much and comes in a bottle that 's easy to carry in the field. I keep a bottle in my pack at all times.

 

They also make a product called Calagel. It's like Caladryl, but the gel is easy to apply, and dries quickly and invisibly. I've used it on PI but also found out that it goes a long way to relieve the itch of chigger bites. Got a bad case of them a little while back and decided it couldn't hurt to try the stuff on them. Wonderful! It relieved the itch like nothing else would.

 

No, I don't sell this stuff, but I sure do like their products. If it makes you itch, they make something that will help it stop.

 

S-4-C

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I got it REAL bad in July. Nothing I used (and I mean nothing) worked on the itching. I spent probably 30$ on bottles and tubes of crap that did nothing to help the itching.

 

The thing I found most soothing was swimming in a pool. It dried the skin right up (because of the chlorine) and soothed the itching.

 

This was before my current policy of washing with cool water as soon as possible after caching. Ive been in direct contact with poison ivy since but because of the cool water washing, I had no reaction.

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I had a really, really bad case. This is the stuff that was the most effective for me (other than prescription meds):

n03519b1.jpg

The one I use is the Quick Shot spray, and for me seems to provide the best relief for bad infections. It kept me from having to go back for another prescription.

 

--Marky

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I got PI for the first time a few weeks ago on my left forearm. It itched like a mother... I used a generic Wal-Mart anti-itch cream with "Maximum Strength Antihisamine" and it seemed to stop the itch to a dull roar. Later the wife bought the Benedryl and it seemed to dry it up. It finally went away 2-3 days ago.

 

Yesterday, she bought some Tecnu on sale at Wal-Mart for $2.50 and it included a travel bottle and I will try to use it for prevention next time. I'm even thinking of going and stocking up at that price! PI is rampant in the late summer in central TX, especially since we've had an unusually damp summer.

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Another convert to Tecnu. I got a mild case last summer. This year it is growing waist high around here but I'm not bothered at all. I always wash down with the stuff as soon as I return to the car. Some one posted this: to our local yahoo group a while back too for the frequent user club:

Know several folks have been buying their Tecnu from REI. It is

around $6.99 for a small bottle (4oz). I have been getting mine from

Duluth Trading, it is $15.99 for a 32oz bottle shipping $4.95. (Wish

I could get the gallon size!!)

duluthtrading.com

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My business for 12 years, with over 200 employees working with chainsaws and wood chippers in almost constant contact with poison oak, and a Workers Compensation carrier threatening to cancel my coverage due to poison oak-related lost time, I tried *all* of the above mentioned preventions and cures.

 

Technu works, *but*, even with Technu, nothing worked better for prevention than washing, washing, washing, (4 times in an 8 hour shift) . We used Fels Naptha in bar soap form, but believe that dish soap works just as well. The Technu was reapplied after each washing. This aggressiveness in the field paid off.

 

Now, if you screwed up, and are afflicted with a devilish dose, there is a method that has proven to alleviate that itch...It'll cost you nothing to try. Affected areas held in *very* hot water for 15 to 20 minutes, will get relief because the body will quit producing histamines...and histamines are what cause the itch.

 

As far as I know, the hot water method will not do anything to remove the rash, or make it go away any faster, but you can get a nights sleep out of it.

 

Remember that some of the discussions/methods have to do with pre-exposure, some have to do with post exposure/pre-reaction, and some have to do with post exposure/post reaction. Cold water is best for washing up, hot water for when it's too late.

 

I've noticed that many women that are very allergic to the urishiol, will get the rash on arms, legs, stomach, etc. and not get it on the face. Make-up base providing the block? If you are going to spotaneously go for a cache, and don't have your technu with you, use sunscreen. Not as good as Technu...but better than nothing.

 

Gasoline can burn your skin very badly if not washed with soap afterwards. What's the point? If you have soap and water, skip the volatiles and just wash.

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Both my wife and I used to get poison ivy very bad. Since geocaching we carry a bottle of hand sanitizer with us (mostly, we thought, was to get rid of dirt from searching) but, as we proceeded to get into poison ivy up to our necks sometimes, the hand sanitizer has been the remedy for us in not getting the rash. As soon as we've been exposed, we rub hand sanitizer all over our skin, liberally, and we have been lucky enough not to have had poison ivy since we started geocaching a couple of years ago. We often put a small size bottle in the caches as a trade item. We keep alarger pump bottle in the map pocket of the car door and use it as soon as we get back to the car. If a long hike, we take it with us. Give it a try - hopefully, it will work for all of you, too. Brand doesn't matter! It works for us. Art Vandelay

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I am currently experiencing the worst case of PI I've ever had.

 

I moved into a new apartment, and the hedges (trees/bushes) by my parking space were nearly taking over, so I went out with a trimmer and cleaned up the mess, carrying it all out with my hands.

 

Now, I have fully exposed area about the size of a dollar bill (a bit larger) on the inside of my right arm with various coin-sized outbreaks elsewhere on the arm. My other arm, stomach, and legs have a few spots too.

 

My right arm, because of the outbreak, is very swollen. The swelling is more of an irritation than the itch--it's very uncomfortable. Making writing and eating with my right arm difficult.

 

I'm becoming impatient for this to pass. It's been four or five days so far.

 

The trimmer has been sitting in my kitchen. What do I do with it?

 

Jamie

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I just started to get over a case of it for the third time this year, about a week ago....Then this past weekend, I go and get it bad again...

 

I get it 4-5 times a year really bad, ever since I was a kid...(for about 27yrs now...)

 

I've tried EVERYTHING OTC.....Only thing I have found that close to works for me is the Tecnu Calagel...

 

This stuff does a decent job of keeping it from spreading from the directly exposed areas, and helps control the weeping and does eventually dry it up in a couple-three weeks for me.

 

In my experience, I have found several things to stay away from, which all seem to make it worse.

 

1) ANY ointment or salve that has ANY oils in it (you're trying to get RID of an oil in the first place....You need something that will dry it up, not add more oil...)

 

2) Calamine and (as for me), the Benadryl Gel. These (or anything else) that seems to harden to a non-porous "scab". They always seemed to just hold in the weeping, which only made it spread worse under the skin.

 

3) Hot or warm water....This only opens your pores, and thins the oil, which makes it more likely to spread.

 

4) I usually weep pretty bad....Covering it with a gauze bandage seems to be a no-no....Usually the weeping just hardens on the bandage, and creates a scab, which also holds in the weeping, making it spread worse under the skin. (Plus it hurts and pulls skin off, leaving open sores when you pull the bandage off...

I usually just keep checking it often, and wipe as needed.

 

Things that seem to work for me:

 

1) The Calagel seems to help control it. This seems to dry thin, and ends up peeling off. Looks like skin peeling from sunburn.

 

2) At home, I have a spray bottle filled with 90% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Anytime it starts to itch, i spray or dab this on with a cotton ball, and it kills the itch right away. Seems to work for a couple of hours at a time. (If the skin is broken or open, it WILL burn at first, but goes away quik, along with the itch.

 

3) At the very extreme, I've used straight bleach wiped on with a cotton ball.

This REALLY burns, and smells for a long time. (Yes, I found that swimming in a chlorintated pool seemed to help.)

 

4) WHen I had insurance, I would stop by the Doc, and get him to take a quik look, and he'd always give me a prescription for the oral Prednisone. This seemed to clear it up in about 3 or 4 days.

I guess there are drawbacks to it. I guess it can mess with antidepressants and other types of medications.

 

I really need to try the Ivy Block, before I go out, and the Tecnu right after I get back.

Hopefully then I can stop it before I NEED the Calagel.

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I once saw Roger Cook on Ask This Old House remove a plethora of PI. He covered every square inch of his body. Duct Taped his gloves to his long sleeve shirt. When done, he undressed and then washed up with mineral spirits. I guess it's along the lines of the turpentine. Get the oil's off before it has a chance to bind to the skin. This makes sense to me.

 

But, most of this discussion is how to treat it once you got it. What about prevention? I couldn't tell you a poison oak leaf from a spinach leaf. How do you identify it? Everything seems to have 3 leaves. I've seen photos of remedy ointments, let's see some photos of the plant that must not be touched.

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Two weeks ago I got some nasty Poison Ivy. It ended up getting so bad I went to the Dr (first time in 13 years). Got me some drugs that knocked it down pretty quick. My arm is still trying to heal.

 

Here are some pics I took.

 

http://pong.telerama.com/~musicman/ouch/

Ouch!

I know EXACTLY what youre going thru, Muzikman....

 

Thats EXACTLY how I used to get it when I was a kid......

 

Usually ended up with it like that on two or three limbs and my torso all at once... :D

 

I used to have to suffer thru it for a month or two at a time.

The weeping was the worst!

 

I used to have scars that lasted two or three years from it.

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