I must be on a 10 year cycle, that is, once every ten years I decide to do battle with poison ivy. It’s not like I’m looking for a fight, I just seem to wander into the damn oily nasty plant.
Let’s get the facts straight about poison ivy. It’s an oil in the plant that causes the reaction. The oil gets on your skin. You smear it around by wiping your brow or scratching your leg. It doesn’t get “into your bloodstream” and cause a rash (with blisters!) to spread all over your body. No, you did that all yourself, mindlessly pulling weeds then heading into the house and pulling off your gardening t-shirt which had poison ivy oil on it.
So what to do? Unfortunately the cures and remedies are about as pro-aging as it gets (other than staying out of the sun because you have a disgusting rash across your chest). Here’s what to do:
- COLD shower immediately after coming into contact with poison ivy. As in ice cold, polar bear swim close all your pores cold. Ok. A cold shower is good for your skin, it’s just hell on your mental state and for most of us, entirely unpleasant.
- Take the liquid dish soap from the kitchen into the shower with you. Yup, lather up with Palmolive, Joy or some other grease cutting sudsy soap. You want to be squeaky “there are no natural or poison ivy oils left in my body” clean. Strip your skin clear then proceed to dry it out some more….
- Pull out the calamine lotion (chicken pox memories, anyone?). If tiny hard mosquito bite-like bumps start appearing, slap on the calamine and dry the little bastards out. Rash, blisters, dried out skin here we come!
Then call the Dr. and ask for a prescription for steroids. Yes, steroids. Reading the warning on the medication makes you wonder if you’d rather just suffer through the poison ivy rash. Acne is a potential side effect. Great, at my age I really want to worry about an acne breakout. Trouble sleeping, increased sweating and heartburn are other potential side effects. Sounds like menopause which I’m already dreading. Oh, a decrease in alcohol consumption is recommended while on the medication. JUST when you need a drink (while you’re scratching and fretting about adult acne), you’re denied one.
Final remedy: Hire a gardner.