Saturday, June 26, 2010

Poison I-i-i-i-vy

About a week and a half ago, I noticed a small bump on the back of my thigh - it itched a bit. I thought it was an insect bite and just resolved not to scratch it. A few days later, I noticed that there was more than one bump. Today, the bumpy patch is, oh, three inches across, by maybe 2 inches the other way. And it itches like mad.

Meanwhile, I also have three or four more "bites" behind my right knee.

For the last day or two I've started wondering if this isn't something else, like, oh, maybe poison ivy.

Remember the partridge berry I was trying to photograph along the Ice Meadows? It was nestled down among a very healthy, robust population of PI growing all along the herdpath. I sat and nearly lay down in it to try and photograph the partridge berry flowers.

I've never reacted to PI before, but that could be because I've always been very careful to avoid it. But now I'm beginnng to wonder if some of the oil got on my pants, and the later on, while hanging out in the house, I might have come into contact with it. I can think of no other explanation.

Now, the thing is, if you "get" poison ivy, it doesn't "spread." At least not the way most people seem to think it does. The rash is an allergic reaction to the oil. If you wash after getting the oil on you, you can possibly eliminate the problem before it starts, or you can at least keep it from spreading because you have washed the oil away. However, if a patch shows up in one spot, and later another spot appears, it could be that both areas contacted the oil, but one reacted more quickly than the other.

And if you rupture the blisters by scratching (I admit, I did make my leg bloody the other day), you are not "spreading" the oil, for the liquid in the blisters is only your own bodily fluids, just like in a normal blister.

So, the moral of this story is: when one lies with PI, one is bound to wake up with a rash. I should've lobbed those pants right into the washing machine when I got home.

Hm...and then there are the boots...


  1. I have never had the stuff, and it is rampant around "my" woods. They have it beside the trails too, but it looks like they have treated them, because they are free of it. I try to stay on the trails, because they tell you to, but, when I do step off of them -- just a little -- to get a good picture -- I am always very careful to look before I step.

    I don't know if this will help or not, but, when I get heat rash, I use a lotion called Sarna. It's got menthol on it, so you might not want to use it where you have broken the blisters open (though the OW!!!!! might make you forget the itch). I found that it just cools that itching right down.

  2. I could have sworn I posted a long comment. Poison Ivy is the reason I'm not walking the woods behind my house. If I could get in there, I think it would be fine, but it's surrounded by the darn stuff.

    You might want to try a lotion called Sarna. Not on the blisters that you have scratched open. It's got menthol in it and I think the burn might just take your mind off of the itch. But, it works wonders on my heat rash, and might relieve the ivy rash as well.

  3. * GROAN * I so hate that stuff!!!!! My sympahties!

  4. I had the same thing happen a couple of weeks ago. I remember walking through it and just because I'm paranoid I washed my legs when i got home but I don't think I washed the pants right away. The itching is just clearing up now.

    I used to be 'immune' to poison ivy but I've read that every time you come in contact with it in increases your sensitivity so next time you're even more likely to have a reaction.

  5. Ugh is right! I've now been officially diagnosed with PI and am starting Prednisone treatments. The patch is growing, and alternating between itching like mad, stinging/hurting, and being numbed by the Calamine lotion. I keep reminding myself that this, too, will pass.