Poison Ivy is definitely not an experience anyone wants to have. But at least Dan can make you laugh a little bit about it in today’s post!
There are certain elements of life that really bake my noodle. For example, why in the world does the earth need the mosquito? Other than being bat food and being a vector of most nasty diseases, why does it exist? Shouldn’t mankind do something about this? We as humans seem to be good a extincting things (sadly – DoDo bird we hardly knew you), why can’t we turn our skill of eliminating a species towards the mosquito?
But alas, this post has nothing to do with the cursed mosquito. It has everything to do with its cursed plant-cousins: Poison Ivy , Oak, and Sumac. Three plants which I officially put on notice. Your plant days are numbered! You did your durndest to derail my summer, now I will return the favor by swearing an eternal enmity between you and Dankind. I declare you an official enemy of the state of Dan. It is my intention to go all gangsta Round-Up on your three leafed plant kiesters.
Why such animosity you ask? Take a good long look at this delicious photograph for your answer. This is just a portion of my previously rash-infected area which is appropriate to share.
I got this beaut of a rash during our company’s community day of service. You know, go to a park or trail-head, pick up some trash, tidy up a hobo-camp or two (true story), get a raging case of Poison Ivy…
Poison Ivy is a rather pretty vine-type of plant distinct by its bunching of three leaves.
You many have heard the old adage “Leaves of three, leave them be” – this is a plant that is perpetually in a bad mood. Upon its leaves rest the plant oil named Urushiol. It is this oil which causes the rash to appear, but only after many hours, or in my case, days after being exposed to it.
If you suspect you have been exposed to poison ivy, it is my suggestion that you immediately skin yourself. Yes it will hurt in the short term, but the plant is basically going to do that for you anyhow, so might as well get to it on your own terms. Here are some other suggestions I tried, along with my experience of how helpful they were.
1 – Get a prescription oral steroid to help you clear up the rash quicker
I don’t know what “quicker” means. In what universe is 3 weeks quicker? ‘m pretty sure the Doc gave me sugar pills and had a good yuck about it with his medical staff.
2 – Get a topical steroid and apply it 3 times per day
For me, this had absolutely zero effect. Zip. Zero. It was an fantastic way to burn through a $15 buck co-pay though.
3 – Essential oils – Lavendar and Peppermint specifically
This is a great way to attract bees and wasps, not an effective method of combating the fire-itch of Poison Ivy.
4 – Calamine, caladryll, and any other topical anti-itch ointment “they” suggest
Pure snake oil. Might as well make a paste of some ground up cement chalk. After I eradicate poison ivy, I am going after the industry that produces these “remedies”
5 – Apple Cider Vinegar
I know there are some real wackos out there who believe that this substance is a cure-all. For poison ivy treatment I would compare it to Satan’s spit. Apply it generously if your goal is to grow and propagate your rash.
6- Put a cup of oatmeal in a tepid bath with you
I felt like a big bowl of man-soup soaking there with oatmeal floating around me. The only thing I gained here is my hatred for the word tepid.
7- Make a poultice of baking soda and milk and apply it to the rash
What the what??? This is the bogus balm of Beelzebub.
8 – Witch-hazel
This is an aptly named astringent. Some unscrupulous witch is making a killing peddling this as remedy for poison ivy. BURN HER! BURN THE WITCH!
9 – Hemorrhoid cream
I guess in theory this makes sense. However, it would seem that there is a difference between the itch and burn of poison ivy and the itch and burn of hemorrhoids. Also, something about spreading a lotion meant for THAT area all over your person that I found to be a bit off-putting.
So much for conventional medicine and alternative medicine for that matter, however, I was able to find some remedies which were slightly helpful – check out these tried an true methods.
1 – Screaming into a pillow
Very effective at keeping the noise down at 2 am when you are burning up from the itch-burn
2 – Cold showers
As delightful as they sound. Best if you stay in there until you pass out from hypothermia.
3 – Ice rub-downs
Rub the affected area with ice until you are numb, frost-bitten and delirious. This is a fantastic fix which gives you at least 5 minutes of relief.
4 – A warm glass of “Suck it up”
A very effective suggestion made by my wife. I guess once again I needed to be reminded that I will never know real pain because I don’t know child-birth pain. Thank you sweetie, but when was the last time anyone experienced child-birth for 3 weeks straight??
5- Curse yourself for not paying more attention in Scouts
I’m an Eagle Scout. You would think that I should have been able to keep myself out of this mess. I feel like I should renounce my rank.
6 – Positive thinking and calming yoga poses
Actually I jest – I tried neither of these, but I suggest them anyhow. I am sure they would be about as helpful as any other remedy out there.
So there you have it. Poison Ivy has earned the dubious honor of being the first subject of my many forthcoming rants. Stay tuned for the next installment of “Dan’s Man Rants: Parades and Fireworks”
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My husband can sympathize. He gets it at least once a year. Usually more.
This old home remedy always works for me:
Moisten some salt with water (or dampen the affected area and shake some salt on it). Rub the wet salt gently into the blisters. Shake off the excess…….Feels good, stops the itching, and dries up the blisters. Repeat when needed. Better than steroids or any other home remedy.
Wash skin and clothing with Fels Naptha soap. It cuts the oils from the plant. It can be found in the laundry aisle at the grocery store, a bar with a green and white label. I keep some in each bathroom and one in the laundry room.
After the skin is clean, take the homeopathic remedy Rhus Tox. This remedy works for not only poison ivy, oak and sumac, but chicken pox as well.