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Thu Jun 23, 2022, 11:05 AM

A Friend's Experience with Poison Ivy

I just received this email from a union colleague regarding her attendance at an upcoming meeting:

Hi Guys,
Not sure I can make it.
Spent the last 4 days in and out of doctor's offices including a stint in the ER.
I had a VERY bad reaction to poison ivy. Was prescribedprednisone to which I am apparently allergic to.
Now I am a mess....swollen and red all over. I look like the elephant man....not kidding.
Will not leave my house until back to normal. I can't drive because I can't really see too well. (face is too swollen)
I look scary.
Now have $40 ointment and super-duper Benadryl-like antihistamine to hopefully calm things down.


My colleague is not big on yardwork, and I don't know how she got it. She does own her own home, which has a fairly substantial amount of property around it.

Poison ivy and other such plants (sumac, for example), can make one's life miserable. Not to mention a $40 ointment and other drugs are not inexpensive.

For that kind of money, you can have a stash like this, which I keep both in my car and under my sink at home:



Products like Buji (protects skin from plant oils that cause allergic reaction--have to put it on before working in an area where there might be poison ivy), Cortaid (instantly removes poison ivy, oak, and sumac and keeps any oils from spreading), and Tecnu, which also removes the poison oils.There's also Cortaid poison ivy care which keeps rashes from "weeping."Nice to have these handy because you have to use some of the products within 15-30" of being exposed. I keep mine under the kitchen sink, because some require running water to use.

I also take a bag with me to any of my kid gardening sessions and I consider it my job to inspect each bed for poison ivy before I let the kids work in them. You would be surprised how often I find a young poison ivy plant.

Now, if you don't want to spend any money, at least check youtube because last I knew, there was a video there that explained how to scrub for 15-20" after exposure. Might want to bookmark it.

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Reply A Friend's Experience with Poison Ivy (Original post)
NJCher Jun 23 OP
Siwsan Jun 23 #1
packman Jun 23 #2
zeusdogmom Jun 23 #3
slightlv Jun 23 #4
dweller Jun 23 #5
twodogsbarking Jun 23 #6
usonian Jun 24 #7

Response to NJCher (Original post)

Thu Jun 23, 2022, 11:18 AM

1. I keep a spray bottle of vinegar in with my garden tools

Periodically I spray down my arms, just in case I've missed seeing poison ivy. The vinegar neutralizes the toxic oil from the plant.

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Thu Jun 23, 2022, 11:26 AM

2. Remember a boy and his dad clearing a lot many years ago

burning the bush/weeds/scrap and , unknowingly, poison ivy. Smoke almost killed the boy, as I recall they had to get an old iron-lung out of storage at the hospital to save him.

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Thu Jun 23, 2022, 12:20 PM

3. If I know or even think I came in contact with poison ivy I use Dawn Dish Soap

Cold water and a good lathering with undiluted Dawn has kept me poison ivy rash free for several years - the nasty plant is hiding everywhere. Dawn is known for its grease cutting skills thus it down the plant oils. Towel used to dry my arms and gardening gloves go into the laundry.

I routinely wash my arms with Dawn after gardening simply because other plants can irritate my skin.

Poison ivy rash is nasty - looks ugly, feels worse.

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Thu Jun 23, 2022, 12:25 PM

4. My mother was so allergic to the stuff

that she would "catch" it if it the spores (or whatever) were just floating in the air near her. My graduation day, her face was swollen so bad she could barely see me, and her joints were swollen so bad she could barely use them. She ended up going to the ER later that day because it went internal. To say it was miserable for her was an absolute understatement. It ended up being a really dangerous situation for her. She ended up spending most of the spring and summer months in the house with the A/C on, just to be as sure as possible she'd not come into contact with the stuff. Once she got past menopause, it no longer bothered her at all. I wish my allergies would be so kind to me!

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Thu Jun 23, 2022, 12:51 PM

5. Had a doctor tell me

Buy the cheapest shampoo containing sodium laurel sulfate, and spread on your arms hands etc before exposure (gardening etc) as it neutralizes the ivy oils
This was after getting the worse case Id ever had, developed blood poisoning and was on prednisone for weeks after ..

I have a patch of PI in my backyard Ive eying from a distance that Im going to use the vinegar/salt/soap spray on hope that works


✌🏻

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Thu Jun 23, 2022, 01:04 PM

6. Do not burn it.

Don't make me repeat this.

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Fri Jun 24, 2022, 11:31 PM

7. Dawn when you are outside. Tecnu as fast as you can. Speed is of the essence.

Tecnu is deodorized mineral spirits.

I bought some mineral spirits for cleaning paint brushes. It was deodorized.

But the tecnu is fine. Rub on for two minutes, rinse, rub on again for two minutes.

They say not to use tecnu after using cortisone, but that may be over-cautious.

West coast has poison oak. Acres of it. Less now. Spraying works.

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