Poison Ivy, ‘Tis The Season
For those of you who think you are not allergic to poison ivy because you have not had it yet, please be cautious. Over time and after repeated exposure, it is possible that your resistance to poison ivy can wear down, which can lead to a reaction. This recently happened to a friend of mine, so be warned. Also, even if you are not allergic to poison ivy (yet), if you walk carelessly through it and get the oil from the plant on your clothes or skin, you can still pass it on to other people from the oil that is on you.
That being said, if you think you or your pet may have come in contact with the plant, wash yourself or your pet immediately. If you catch it within ten minutes, you may avoid getting the rash or passing it along. Also remember to wash the inside of your car door, the steering wheel, the arm rest, and anything else that the oil may have come in contact with.
To set the record straight on one wives tail, the ONLY way that poison ivy is contagious is through the oil from the plant. You can get poison ivy ONLY if you touch the plant, or if you touch someone or something (including but not limited to pets, or other peoples skin or clothing) that has the oil on it. Once again, please for your sake and the sake of others, wash immediately if you have come in contact with the plant.
I’ve had poison ivy at least a dozen times in my life and have learned most of this information first hand. Just like everything else, it is no exception to the law of attraction. If a person is thinking about it a lot and is afraid of getting it, sure enough, that person is likely to get it… What you focus on expands. Most of us are not fully awakened yet, so we sometimes attract things into our lives that we are not wanting with our conscious mind. We are human. Therefore, it is good to know how to deal with it if we get the poison ivy rash or come in contact with the plant.
What to DO: Use COLD water, as cold as it gets, to ease the itch. Pay as little attention to the rash as possible. If you must apply anti itch creams, take your pick. There are a myriad of them to choose from, medicated and herbal. I have found that ASAP silver gel helps with the healing. Aloe is also a good idea. Baking soda mixed with oatmeal and water feels very nice and soothing but is also very messy. If the blistering is large and very weepy, you may need to put a dressing over it. Change the dressing 1-2 times a day. Focus on other things to distract yourself from the itch, as much as possible. Resist the urge to itch. Wash gently with soap and water at least once a day and run under cold water as many times as necessary throughout the day to relieve the itch. (The cold water rinse doesn’t relieve the itch for as long as the hot water rinse, however it also does not encourage the rash to spread more. The rash may spread a little anyway, but you will find that it spreads much more if you use hot water.) Bentonite clay is very soothing, sometimes stings a little, but helps to draw the fluid out of the blisters, and dry them out.
What NOT to do: My worst case of poison ivy was three years ago. The thing that was different about that year was that I was paying a LOT of attention to the rash. I took pictures of it almost every day. I applied a variety of anti itch creams and homemade remedies to it every day. Most importantly, I ran hot water over it 2 to 3 times a day. Do NOT do this. As the information says online, it will cause more inflammation and cause the rash to spread. It is true that if you run it under hot water long enough (until the itch stops) it releases all the histamine and after practically burning yourself, you will have relief from the itch for up several hours, BUT trust me, it’s not worth it. That was the most wide spread, with the largest areas of blistering, and most painful case of poison ivy I have ever had. To top it off, it was also the longest period of time that the rash has lasted, 5-6 weeks. (Only use the warm/hot water remedy in desperate situations, and be very careful not to get in the habit of using it. Also, if you do it, be mindful to keep the water at a reasonable safe temperature.) Some websites suggest applying bleach or watered down bleach to the area. Do NOT do this either. That can cause more irritation to the skin.
As with anything, consult your physician if you have any questions or if the rash is extreme and continues to persist after 3 weeks. Doctors can prescribe corticosteroid for you if necessary which should take care of the rash. However, this type of drug has a lot of side effects with repeated use and I recommend only be used when necessary. I am not a doctor. I always recommend to trust your inner guidance, and if it’s telling you to call your doctor, then call your doctor. Poison ivy is no joke, and can be very serious in some cases, especially if ingested, or if burned and the smoke was breathed in.