Read this before you get a poison ivy rash. There are some very important pitfalls to avoid.
On a recent Sunday in mid-May, I participated in some gardening activities in my front yard. The Virginia Creeper was creeping its way through the ivy ground cover and Rose of Sharon planting area just off my front door. I grabbed at the offending stem and yanked, then balled it up and threw the mess over the fence to the backyard where the burn pile was located.
A neighbor who happened by pointed out that there is poison ivy in that planting area too, so I made sure to head to the kitchen sink quickly and wash my hands well.
Later that evening in the shower, I noticed some red scratch marks on the inside of my right leg and simply attributed it to the fact that I was working in the yard and removing fallen limbs and branches. Surely that's what had caused the scratches.
The next morning at the office I noticed my leg was very itchy. I inspected the area and saw that it was reddened and populated with many small blisters.
I made a trip to the drugstore next door and picked up a tube of Ivarest and slathered that stuff on. It is pink like calamine lotion. It was very uncomfortable as it became smeared on the inside of my pants leg. Later that evening when I went to reapply the lotion I saw that there was a blister the size of a large grape on the inside of my right leg, near the knee.
I turned to online research using the search term "poison ivy rash" and the photos looked identical to the monstrosity that my right leg was morphing into. I grabbed a shower to try and wash off any of the remaining poison ivy oil known as Urushiol that might still remain on my skin. I noticed my left leg was becoming red and blistery as well. Probably from coming into contact with my right leg! Unfortunately, I took a hot shower - which felt FABULOUS on the itchy areas - but, as I found out later it actually helps to drive the Urushiol oils deeper into the skin.
In addition to the Ivarest, I applied some Tea Tree Oil, as that is my main go-to for many skincare related issues. The next few days were miserable as over and over my blisters grew, popped, oozed and itched. It is a gross feeling when that pus runs down your leg.
Other areas of my body had some minor irritations. My right arm displayed a small cluster of itchy blisters as did a spot on my right shoulder. My mid-back on the right side itched and when I turned to get a better look at it in the mirror, I noticed that it was a tick adding insult to injury! I rummaged for my De-Ticker tool and promptly removed the creature.
I added Tecnu spray to the skincare repertoire after reading online that many people found relief from this product. It did bring me some relief from the itching and I liked that the ingredients were natural. The store did not have any Zanfel, which also came highly recommended in online reviews. Folks also mentioned that Mean Grean Scrub is virtually the same thing, yet much lower in price. I added a 16-oz. jar of that to my Amazon cart and clicked "Place Order" hoping against hope that it would show up on my front porch the next day.
On Friday morning I noticed my right foot and ankle had become swollen. The same helpful neighbor that pointed out the poison ivy plants in my front yard also mentioned that he had the Zanfel! He and a co-worker used it successfully in treating a poison ivy rash they received while on a lot-clearing job. I gratefully accepted the tube and immediately went into the house to begin applying it. The tiny granules felt good as I smoothed the paste over the horrendous blisters and massaged it in. After another of those treatments that same evening and one the next day, I still didn't feel like I was getting anywhere in treating the poison ivy skin rash. I was also missing out on some serious play time with my dogs, but I couldn't risk them running into the affected area or having their wagging tails smack into the wounds.
Back to the 'puter for more online research. I saw where a popular home remedy was to mix Turmeric with either lime or lemon juice and make it into a paste. I went to my spice rack, grabbed the appropriate jar as well as a bottle of Real Lime from the fridge and went to work. I left the concoction on for 15 minutes and then gave it a good rinse. A few hours later, I could see a noticeable change. The blisters were not as prominent. I sprayed some more Tecnu spray on the wounds as it is supposed to relieve itching, promote healing and help with scarring. Plus, the cool spray feels really good on the affected areas.
I will apply the Turmeric and lime juice paste again tonight. Hopefully I'm over the hump now. It is already next Sunday, a week since I came down with the poison ivy rash. I'm hoping its not around for too much longer.
The stress from going through this also resulted in a minor outbreak of Dyshidrosis. There are some blisters on the ring finger of my right hand.
By the way, I carefully removed the balled-up Virginia Creeper and poison ivy plants from where I had thrown them behind the fence and I (using gloved hands) disposed of them safely. Turns out the two plants like to grow in the same places, and I read that it is not advisable to burn poison ivy plants. The oil can become airborne and get onto the skin and even into the lungs!