Miss Poison Ivy Is A bITCH

I was one of the unfortunate ones to run into this green lady last week.  Since our meeting she has created havoc in my life!  Actually it took me a few days to realize we had met.

I started itching on both sides and the back of my neck with what looked like little red bug bites.  My first thought was fleas.  I only use natural products on Kirby so my first step was to check him and both cats with a flea comb.  I found nothing at all.  As the "biting" continued I started to think maybe I have bedbugs?  I have been reading about them for a while now, mostly in New York City.  Was that even possible here in Mississippi?  I had always heard children living in the cleanest homes can catch lice so I quickly washed all of my bedding in the hottest water setting of my washing machine with a little bleach added for good measure.  I had no clue as to what to do about my mattress.

By now the bites and itching had spread to my forehead and entire left side of my face.  Then I considered shingles which I had the excruciating pleasure of dealing with last year.  If you have ever had chicken pox then shingles can erupt when a person is under extreme stress.  It still looked more like little bug bites than a rash but since I couldn't locate a source I decided this must be what it is.

By Monday morning my left hand was driving me crazy!  The top of each finger, in between each finger, and my palm was itching so badly I wanted to cut off my hand!  Tiny blisters were popping up all over too.  Instead of heading to work I headed to my doctor's office.  

Poison Ivy was the culprit!  I work in my yard almost all of the time, cutting grass, weeding, planting, mulching.  You name it, I do it.  I wear gloves but working throughout the day I put them on and take them off.  We think I must have come into contact with this lovely vicious green plant when putting out purchased pine straw in my front flower beds.  Putting my hand in and out of my glove just helped to really spread it around and into my hand.

I haven't, and will not, touch another thing in my yard until we return from our vacation which is another story.  The grass needs cutting, I've seen a few weeds I desperately want to pull, and my peonies are in full bloom begging me to cut and bring them indoors.  All will wait until we return this coming Wednesday night.

Anyway, having never encountered Miss Poison Ivy, I thought I should pass along what I discovered worked (finally) for me.  My doctor gave me a double action poison ivy specific shot which would give immediate relief along with a longer lasting medicine.  I also received an expensive over the counter prescription for Betamethasone Valerate Cream.  I further purchased a generic poison ivy wash which I used several times a day.  My face and neck cleared up right away.  My hand, not at all!  Throughout the day and night I would run to the sink and scrub with the wash in the hottest water I could stand, then rub in the cream.  The itching would ease somewhat until full blown a few hours later.

Finally desperate I googled home remedies and cures on the internet.  That's where I found my salvation - DAWN DISH DETERGENT.   I actually keep this product in a lovely decorative bottle on my kitchen sink and use it all the time wearing pretty rubber gloves that lay across the edge of the sink. Eagerly I began scrubbing my hand with it, top, bottom, and in between each finger.  Finally the RELIEF I so desperately had been searching for!  

Research told me that poison ivy deposits an oil called urishol which seeps into the skin for several layers.  The key is to remove the oil which is what the dish detergent does.  I suppose any dish detergent would work but Dawn was the one suggested since it's so good at removing grease from dishwater. BTW - I began purchasing only Dawn dish detergent because I really wanted to support this company's endeavors and success saving the wildlife caught in the oil spill we had recently in the Gulf of Mexico.

I am finally, thank God, on the mend and just in time since we leave for our vacation in the morning. Have you encountered Miss Poison Ivy?  What did you do or use to overcome her nastiness?