08 July 2016

How to prevent poison ivy rashes - AFTER exposure

20 comments:

  1. So helpful! Poison ivy grows in our backyard and I always have some trepidation when removing it. I love when people use the internet to share their knowledge. Thanks for posting this!

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  2. I'm somehow naturally immune to Urushiol. I used to work at a resort as a groundskeeper and a big part of our job was to go through the local woodlands and clear the poison ivy and sumac away so that customers and kids didn't get it. Some people were complaining one day about how they were getting rashes all along one edge of the resort "The resort is a glorified campground". So, me and 3 other guys went into the woods, me in shorts and cut off shirt, they all in flannel long sleeves, gloves, pants, and one with a bee net on his head. I knew from childhood that it was hard for me to get poison ivy rashes so I wasn't particularly worried. Well to make a long story short....er. They guys all dressed in layer and roasting in summer heat and humidity got rashes in places they were exposed, wrists, back of the neck, ankles etc. and we needed to bring a dump truck down to load all the vines into. It took us nearly 6 hours to clear a 1 acre area well enough to call it done. I walked out completely rash free.
    Everyone swore that I was just lucky and that immunity didn't really exist and even that I was wearing something to stop it but the truth came out nearly two days later when my, unemployed, at home all day girlfriend ended up breaking out in various places. She went to the doctor and he told her it looked like poison ivy and deduced that I had carried the oil home on me and then cuddled with my girl on the couch before I went and showered off. After she got rid of the rash, my friend came over after an elapsed week or so and contracted the rash also, I'm assuming from sitting in my spot on the couch... hopefully not from my girlfriend! But so the story goes, I ran around in it, had it fall on me, pulled it down by hand and even carried the oil to my home and exposed people to it and now years later I have still never had a reaction. From that time forward I declared myself immune and was given the crappy job of going into the woods alone to pull down poison ivy all day. But this was an interesting read and I'll certainly pass on the knowledge, thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Alright, that entire story is hilarious.

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    2. Same here. Inherited immunity from my dad (also don't react to bedbugs...). My husband reacts to it really badly, though, and kept waking up with a bad rash even though he hadn't been working outside. We finally figured out that it was in the big patch of shrubbery I had been walking through to pick blackberries.

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    3. Good story anon - tx for sharing.

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    4. I have been in the woods my entire life camping and hunting and have never gotten a poison ivy rash. I won't say I am "immune", and I certainly won't tempt fate, but it has always been a bit of mystery to me why others have gotten it while I never have.

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    5. Yes, it is true that some people are born with a natural resistance/immunity to urushiol.

      However, there is a caveat to this: repeated exposure to urushiol WILL eventually cause an individual to develop a sensitivity to it. So, some people who claim to be immune usually walk right into the stuff on a regular basis to prove it develop sensitivity to it over time.

      If you are one of the lucky few who are immune to it, it is best to consider yourself lucky and avoid exposing yourself to it.

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  3. No mention of Gojo (degreaser)? Wonder how that would have worked. We had that stuff in 2-gallon cans back when I worked at a service station (ca. 1970).

    Lurker111

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    Replies
    1. Gojo is a great grease remover, and I've used it after I've been exposed to poison ivy—as well as working on a greasy engine.

      However, if you smell your hands after cleaning with the stuff you'll notice you can still smell the grease on your skin. With that in mind, it is likely that there would still be urushiol left on your skin after a wash and rinse with Gojo.

      I will usually scrub up with Dawn after cleaning with Gojo to remove an residual grease. Though, this also goes right in line with what the Doctor said in the video, that it is best to wash at least three times to ensure all the grease has been removed.

      A key point he mentioned is to use a washrag as a mechanical means to scrape off the grease from your skin.

      For the record, I am extremely sensitive to urushiol, and I've been able to minimize my reaction to it by doing just what the doctor said in the video: wash thoroughly to remove it.

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    2. Thanks for the follow-up! :)

      Lurker111

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  4. Actually, friction can also be used to get rid of paint spots on your hands if you've been painting with oil-based paints. You can use any kind of kitchen scrubby, and if you apply just enough force, without making your skin raw, you don't have to go the paint thinner or mineral spirits route, or keep that dangerous stuff around.

    Lurker111

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  5. I thought I read once that native Americans in the NE used to burn poison ivy and breath the smoke as a homeopathic way to build a natural resistance to the poison. Or was that an old wive's tale?

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    1. No. It's an old wive's tale. It is incredibly dangerous to breath in smoke from burning poison ivy. Think of it akin to being caught in a mustard gas attack. The ugly side of fighting forest fires, urushiol-infused smoke puts firefighters into the hospital on a regular basis.

      Think of how miserable it is to have a poison ivy rash on your skin. Breathing the smoke causes the reaction inside your lungs and all over your body as the urushiol passes through the lungs and into your blood.

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  6. Posion ivy only bothers me if it gets into scrapes and cuts, even then it's pretty minor and brief I don't even really have to wash it off before it goes away if I'm outside for a while. My poor wife however gets horrible rashes and weeping black oily blisters, luckily the kids seem to have my resistance.

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  7. Great tips in that video. As someone who has suffered many times, I appreciate the knowledge.
    (fyi: My wife seems to be immune to the oil)

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  8. For those who comment they are immune to the oil that causes poison ivy rash: Beware! I am 64 years old, never had poison ivy in my life, realized I had an immunity to it when a teenager, so never took any precautions. Spent many a summer working on clearing the stuff, never a problem. My brother, 13 months younger, also never had a reaction.

    2 years ago,I was clearing a patch of the stuff from a neighbor's yard. A couple of days later, I was living in agony, one eye swollen shut, rash almost everywhere on my body, etc. Turns out that like most allergens, a reaction to poison ivy can occur anytime (as I was informed by a doctor who treated me). Don't assume your immunity is forever...

    Strangely, my brother had his first reaction to poison ivy the same week I had mine. He lives about 300 miles away, so there was no connection to the same plants.

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  9. just an fyi - cashews are in the same family as poison ivy. cashew shells have an irritant oil that is removed during processing. if the nuts are not processed properly, eating too many cashews can result in a poison ivy like rash.

    I-)

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  10. The irritant in cashews is meant to irritate the bowels of animals, and it works very well! If you eat too many cashews you can get a oily substance that leaks from your bum.

    Don't ask me how I learned about this.....

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  11. I didn't make it past 32 seconds of the video. I'd respect this YouTube fellow more if he actually showed real poison ivy (vs. what I'm quickly guessing might be hoptree).

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