Saturday, September 19, 2009

Poison Ivy and My Doctor

The doctor gave me a shot of cortisone and a prescription for some skin cream that I applied once. It burned at first but then it gave me sweet relief. After that, the itching was never so bad that I had to do anything. The poison ivy patches are still there but they're not angry and red anymore just kind of dry and rough. And I've never even used the cream again.

My doctor told me some interesting things though. He said the poison ivy doesn't spread. I was afraid to take a shower for fear of covering my body, from my infected neck down, in poison ivy. He explained to me that new areas erupt because once the poison ivy is in the dermis, it's going to erupt. It just takes longer in some areas than in others depending on the thickness of the epidermis in any one area.

Oh, and you get infected with poison ivy anywhere that the oil of the plant touches. If you get it on your shoe string and don't wash it thoroughly, you can keep re-infecting yourself. The same holds true for your keyboard or your steering wheel. Anywhere that the oil touches stays capable of re-infecting you until it's either worn off or washed off. Once you've touched the oil on the plant, you can deposit it anywhere that you touch until you wash your hands thoroughly. But once your skin erupts in the dreaded poison ivy rash, you can't give it to anyone else. It's your own personal poison ivy and no one else can have it.

He also told me that I wouldn't spread it by scratching it. That was a huge relief because believe me, I scratched. I was so relieved to get the image of some living entity trying to force me to scratch as I feverishly tried to resist out of my head, that that alone soothed my skin. Of course, he said you shouldn't scratch because you're tearing up your skin but you aren't making the poison ivy worse by doing so.

Now I am SO motivated to thoroughly weed my sorely neglected back fence row beds that I can hardly wait to get them done BUT I'm terrified. I have identified at least three different plants back there with 'leaves of three'. You know the old adage, 'leaves of three, let it be' right? And I'm afraid to get anywhere near them. I'll do it though. I know I will. I'll wear turtle necks and gloves and whatever else it takes but I'll get them all. I am so mad at that poison ivy.

And I don't think it knew who it was messing with.


  1. I hope that old poison ivy knows that you my friend are a force to be reckoned with.

  2. So many interesting facts! I can't wait to tell Tracy that I can't give him poison ivy!! Thanks for passing on all the info, we have tons of it out here, good luck getting rid of it, be careful. I would be real careful pulling your clothes off afterwards and I would toss them right into the washer...

  3. We were so happy when the dr told us that it couldn't spread by scratching, because it was hard to keep Luke from scratching it!
    Also, Shane and I are pretty pacifistic when it comes to weeds and the like, but when Luke got poison ivy and we realized it was growing out beyond our fence... he sprayed it until it was brown and shriveled!
    I'm glad you've had some relief from the itching. Poison ivy is such a stupid jerk.


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