Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Loathing Thee Poison Ivy

This is my arsenal. If there were nine or ten other products that tout the ability to fight the evil poison ivy....I would buy them. Dear goodness gracious sakes it ITCHES! The desperation to relieve the itch and burn is indescribable.

I started out using Ivarest. It takes away the itch and soothes, but it's pink and greasy and has some sort of Menthol in it so when I had it on my face it made my eyes water and that makes my nose run, like I needed a couple more problems to enhance my beautiful pussy face . I had the Ivarest smeared all over my face and had just washed it all off, because I had to go to a meeting with lots of other adults and I didn't really want to be pink-greasy-menthol-watery eyed-runny nose face woman. Clay walks into the bathroom right after I washed my face and I asked, "Does it look bad?" And he said, "Yes. It looks terrible. Wash the medicine off." After I told him I didn't have any medicine on there was a long silent pause where he stared at my face like I was some sort of hideous creature, then he said, "Gaw, I don't like the way that looks." Love, pure love that's what I get from him every day people.

Next, I went to Cortaid. This stuff is used in the shower like a scrub, then you spray that clear liquid on after you dry off. The scrub is good, it takes away the itch and supposedly binds with the oil of the poison ivy. Here's the kicker, the spray contains alcohol. My face was scraped raw from the scrub. Raw face + Spritz of Alcohol = Hysterical Screaming Woman. I got to the point where I would stand in front of the mirror with the spray aimed at my face and I couldn't pull the trigger. I'd give myself the count down...okay, on the count of 3, ready..1......2..................3AHHH, OUCH, OHMYGODNOITBURNS....ugh...the humanity. It's also really sticky until it dries. Like gummy, so you can't get dressed for a few minutes. It does work and when I was battling Poison Ivy a couple months ago this is all I used.

After a week of using Ivarest and Cortaid the Poison Ivy had started to spread to my arms, legs, back, side and belly button and yes, my buttock. I decided I had to give in and try something else. I bought Zanfel. It's not cheap folks, it costs $40. My only other option was to go to the doctor and that would cost a lot more than 40 smackers, but I think most normal people would have made an appointment, received a nice prescription of prednisone and resumed their lives. Have I ever told you how determined I am to fix things by myself? Have I ever mentioned that I'm a bit stubborn? Good qualities to have, but maybe not when my skin is starting to fall prey to oozing sores. Okay, so back to Zanfel. This stuff works. It's also a scrub that you use in the shower, but there's no nasty, sticky, alcohol spray to use afterward. If you have dry skin, like me, you will swear you've been in the Mojave Desert having every ounce of liquid drained from your skin. My face was so dry I resorted to using the greasiest lotion we own and then reapplying a couple times a day. The insanity.

It's been about two weeks since the initial onset (which I thought were mosquito bites on my chin...dumb, dumb, dumb woman) and I'm still battling a couple spots on my arm and legs. I'm just about out of Zanfel, but I think I'll make it.

I didn't resort to using this, but I wanted to, I really really wanted to.

So, there ya go, everything you wanted to know about treating Poison Ivy the April way. I've heard lye soap works wonders, I'll add that to my arsenal next time. Where did I get the Poison Ivy, you ask? I think from my barn cats. I was sitting outside and one of them hopped up on my lap and rubbed under my chin. Dang cats.


melissa said...

I'm sorry, I could sit in a patch of poison ivy and I don't get any reaction to it. But I don't make it a habit and after hearing your tale of woe I'll make sure I don't because I would would curl up and hopefully die.

Anonymous said...

I accidentally ended up using athlete's foot cream by mistake once on my poison ivy rash and it completely solved the problem of itching and spreading. Maybe give that a try, and it's cheaper!

Nathansma said...

I don't know about poison ivy, but I hear that the wire brush works great on yeast infections. :)


Rosie_Kate said...

AHHH! That is HORRIBLE! I'm very sensitive to it and have had it that bad-- all over my body insane agony. I feel your pain. Er, itch.

I've become very paranoid about it. I'm very careful to notice when I come into contact with it and I wash myself and everything with Tecnu. That stuff is awesome. It will remove every trace of the oils. In spite of that, I still end up with spots of it sometimes (like last week). I've discovered that Jewelweed (I picked it on the roadside and made a salve, but you can also get it at health food store) is a MIRACLE CURE for poison ivy/oak. It's the antidote, I'm tellin' ya. Also, homeopathic Rhus Tox (also at the health food store) is amazing. It helps your body kick it and will decrease your sensitivity over time. With these things, I now can get it under control in a few days instead of three weeks of misery. Unless I forget to wash it of my sweatshirt and keep re-exposing myself ARG!

~Mad said...

I do the poison-ivy-thing EVERY year, without fail!
I also try to get rid of it myself - EVERY year.
And... the doctor gives me an injection finally, EVERY year and asks me why I waited so long.
(I'm going to keep these product names for next year when I try to cure it myself, once again!)

~~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

Rhea said...

OMG, I can't get past the wire brush on yeast infections comment. gak!

Darn barn cat! I'd heard animals could spread poison ivy. I've never had it, and I really, really don't ever want to have it. It sounds miserable.

pam said...

Don't you have a Doctor in the family ;)

Michele said...

Go for the steroids.

lmerie said...

I agree with Michelle - the cortizone shot works fast!

I somehow got it on my face once. I was chaperone on a 4-H camp trip. From the time we left town and arrived three hours later at camp, it had spread between my eye and mouth. I was the first emergency room visit for the week!So thankful for the cortizone!

Sally-Ann said...

Owwhh and itch! I am so sorry that you have gone through this. I have never had poison ivy and I certainly hope that I never do!


Trisha said...

Eeks! My mother gets poison ivy really bad too! Not fun!

Jenni said...

I'm not really allergic to poison ivy. When I do get it, I get just three small dots in a line that don't itch and go away quickly. I'm still very, very careful because I've seen what it can do--the rest of my family is affected by poison ivy. I do have dry skin and reading your description of what the Zanfel does made me itch instantly. Ugh. I hate dry skin. I'm allergic to cats, too, and our farm cats are always trying to get right up in my face. I hope your rash goes away soon!

Anonymous said...

When I was in 8th grade I got poison ivy on my arms, legs, back, and neck. Needless to say, I was absolutely miserable. I scratched so much I got a secondary skin infection. The doctors then gave me penicillin for that and I broke out in hives and could hardly breathe! That was when we discovered I was allergic to penicillin. It was NOT a good time. I still have scars on my legs from it.


Anonymous said...

You look like someone who has naturally sensitive skin anyways. All I can say is "YIKES", oh and
"sorry". At least you have the bbq brush as a last resort.

cndymkr / jean said...

I could feel Clays love all way here in NJ. Man, that guy is just full of it. Ha.

Sorry you are so sensitive to poison ivy. I have't had it so I'm say a prayer of thanks.

And that comment by nathansma - ouch! Now that I've had but not THAT bad.

Southern Gal said...

I'm sorry about your poison ivy. I hope it goes away soon! Did you know that not everyone gets poison ivy? It's just that most people are allergic to it (& thus "get" poison ivy). I almost hate to tell you this, but I am not. I can roll around it & nothing ever happens.

I'm also sorry about being an immature adult, b/c I had to read, stop, re-read, and laugh at "my beautiful pussy face!" I know what you meant - face covered in puss, but "pussy face" makes me crack up!

Get better soon :)

Kari said...

We just battled poison ivy here at our house as well. I tried this remedy and it seemed to work pretty well on my 5, 7 and 11 year olds.


I also used it on my 11 yo's bee sting. It had been hurting for 3 days before I thought of it. (Bad Mom) I never heard a complaint after that.

This is the same boy who broke his arm 3 weeks ago and he is getting his cast off today! I don't know whether to attribute it to this (one of the herbs is said to have bone healing properties) or just, ya know, God.

Sometimes I like to tell myself it's because of me and my vast knowledge of, ya know, stuff.

Smartly (not),

April said...

Ack! Poison Ivy STINKS!!! My hubby and I both got it this spring - good times. What finally helped kick it in the pants for us was jewelweed (Google it!). It really dried it up. We bought soap and salve from here:


Hope you get relief soon!

~the Other

craftyranch said...

I'm so sorry you're having such a terrible time with this, I haven't had a reaction but do stay clear of it because my dad started out not having problems then suddenly got one dose so bad he had to be taken to the emergency ward for treatment. My husband does have problems with it once in awhile and after I read your blog I asked him what he felt worked best for him and he said Lavender EO one place we like to get it is Florapathic and the link to the lavender EO on their site is http://www.florapathics.com/p-47-lavender-essential-oil.aspx. He claims it helped allot with the itching and aids in the healing he also mention that in addition it's good to use any agent to dry it up like a cortizone base. Another good use for Lavender EO are kitchen burns, aid in healing of cuts and bug bits. Rather you use this or one of the other great suggestions from those who have commented I do hope you feel better real soon. -Jayne

tims_mom said...

I have used, with alot of success....benadryl, to cut the itching and vicks vapor rub. The menthol stuff in the VRR, works wonders.

Gold Bond Medicated Itch Cream is gold too!



stephaniegbrown said...

Well it sounds like you have it covered if you want to try to treat yourself, but I second the question... don't you have a doctor in the family for crying out loud? :-)

Funny for me to say, but I feel bad for you. I have never 'had' it, and I am allergic to what seems like EVERYTHING.... I have been around it enough to know that I know what it looks like, and definitely 'go the other way'. But barn cats will sometimes do that to you, all friendly-like and spreading death and disease (oh, not death and disease - a little itchiness - bad kitty!)

Lynne said...

I went a couple rounds with some poison ivy last spring. I found some Aveeno lotion/cream for poison ivy, insect bites, rashes, etc. It was wonderful! No greasiness, no odor, no color, no itch. You have GOT to get some.

I live IN Jesus said...

My daughter gets into poison ivy way too often and we have found that the best help is band-aid brand calamine spray it comes in an airisol(sp?) can with a green lid. And I assure you the kid USES it ALOT!!!! So, next time try that out--it works great and only cost around 5 bucks and walphart.
Sarah T

nana said...

HA! I'm soooo glad southerngal said it first! The 7th grade boy came out in me the first time I read "pussy face!" I still snort just typing it! Alas, I too an not affected by poison ivy (thank you God for this blessing!) but I totally feel your pain (er, itch) Feel better soon, your sister needs her peeps to cover her back! The natives are getting restless over there!

Clayvessel said...

Oh my. So sorry for your suffering.
Reread Rosie Kate's comment. She knows what she is talking about!
Do they sell TECNU in your area? The poison oak/ivy suffers here swear by it. It removes the plant oils so that it doesn't keep spreading and worsening.
My brothers would get poison oak if they were down-wind of the stuff they were so sensitive. After taking Rhus Tox they became much less sensitive and suffered much less.
Hope you find help. In the mean time - kids! Take care of your mother!

Cathy said...

I know how miserable poison ivy is. I had it once--darling hubby and I went on a hike right after he came home from Desert Storm. After hiking a while we decided to go off trail for a little romancin'. I assumed he knew what poison ivy looked like. Stupid me. After rolling around in it like a couple of teenagers in heat we both came down with a terrible case of it. All over. Private parts included. It was absolutely miserable. Now that I've shared one of my most embarassing moments/weeks with you I can tell you that both yours and your sisters blogs totally crack me up!

Jennie said...

I get poison ivy all the time! I too always try everything to avoid the Dr. But a year or two ago it was BAD (I applied so much calamine lotion that I got a chemical burn on top of the poising ivy, seriously) and when it spread to my face I high-tailed it to her office and got a shot. One day later the pus was drying up and the rash was clearing, after two days -- gone! I couldn't believe it! I hate shots but will take them any day over the misery of really bad poison ivy.

Anonymous said...

My husband has Poison Ivy every year. He uses straight household bleach. He wets a wash cloth and scrubs the Poison Ivy until it is just short of bleeding. He does this as soon as he discovers the Poison Ivy. Since he has started using the bleach he has not had to go to the doctor for a shot.

jill said...


You poor thing. I also recommend homeopathic rhus tox. It comes in tiny pills or tablets that you dissolve in your mouth or under your tongue. Take a dose, repeat it two or three times the first day. If your symptoms are improving, stop taking the remedy until/unless improvement stops, then take another dose. You'll probably find it in several strengths - 6x, 30c or 200c. Get the 200c if you see it, as it is a more potent dose. Look for a homeopathic cream that is helpful with poison ivy as well. Here's a nice source for ordering online if you like: www.800-homeopathy.com Or check out Washington Homeopathics online as well.

Good luck. As we say in the south, you poor thing, bless your heart.

Karen Deborah said...

most people get desperate when it's on their face. Seems like your bother in law could cough up a decadron shot to play darts at your hiney with.
actually you do have my real sympathies. I have thougth these things out in life. The only thing worse that poision oak or ivy is ta da da. LICE

April said...

Karen Deborah,

NO Darling, I've had lice...as an adult and I would take that hell over poison ivy any day.

Yup, when my oldest was in Kindergarten I was fixing her hair and saw something move, then another something, then another....

She had it, Seth got it and I got it...guess who didn't? Yep, Mr. I Wear a Butt Load of Hair Product Clay.

Accidental housewife said...

Oh honey! My youngest got poison ivy every summer just before we would go on vacation. I swear it was sabatoge. Then I figured out he went to space camp every year the week before we went on vacation. He was VERY sensitive to poison ivy. He HATED poison ivy. The only thing I found that eased him even a little was an oatmeal poultice. Good luck and I hope you get better real soon.

Anonymous said...

Don't you get a family rate for the doctor down the road???

Anonymous said...

Why don't you ask THE COUNTRY DOCTOR what to do?

Anonymous said...

Soak in a tub of water with powder starch. I used that when my exzema gets bad. If you can't find the kind that you wash you clothes in, (as if anyone still uses that), you can use cornstarch. Don't wash it off. Just get out of the tub and pat dry.

Lisa said...

Oh, honey. Forget the OTC stuff and just go get a shot. I have actually gotten up in the middle of the night and scrubbed the infected area with COMET. And it felt glorious, if only for a little while.

Trust me. Just get the shot, and get on with your life.

Caroline said...

I feel for ya. I even look at the stuff and it's all over me. UGH no fun at all. Hope you feel better soon.

Far Side of Fifty said...

April, The oil may stay on your kitty for quite awhile, up to four months. You probably have Jewelweed growing on your property..Impatiens capenis. The liquid inside the stalks really helps the itch and promotes healing. You can also get Burts Bees Poison Ivy Soap..others brands are available also (I order mine from The Turkey Foot Trading Company, Jewelweed or PI soap) I keep a good supply of it on hand all the time during the summer. Fels Naptha works well too. I have read about the Rhus Tox, it works for some people, something about the possible side effects of anal itching made me put it down as a last resort. Some sources say that it must be taken before the start of the PI season to be effective..like I need to remember another pill everyday:)