Poison Ivy – Aye, There’s the Rub!

Poison Ivy_0001I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but it’s been raining almost daily here in our area of PA and not only the grass and flowers, but also the weeds have been thriving.  On Memorial Day, we finally had a bit of a break in the weather.  At least it was dry enough for my hubby and I to go outside and do a little weeding.

He used a hand cultivator to dislodge the buggers and I raked them up so he could scoop everything into the wheelbarrow.  While he was working on the front flowerbed, I went around the side of the house and pulled weeds by hand along our lilac bush and the drain pipe, back in behind our butterfly bushes.  There were some serious vines back in there but I just grabbed and pulled.   I hate yard work so my approach is “the faster you do it, the faster it’s over.”

Butterfly Bushes and Hosta

That’s probably why I had most of it done and was able to head around to the front and pick the weeds in among the ornamental grasses and the perennials that my hubby had missed.  That was one task I was glad to have done when I finally reached the point that I could peel off my gloves and head inside.

The next day, my husband pointed out a red “gash” along his arm.  “Look at this,” he said.  “It almost looks like I scraped it against something but I’ll betcha it’s poison ivy.”

“Hmm, I wonder where you picked that up,” I replied.  “Better put some calamine lotion on it.  You know how you get when you have poison ivy.  You end up looking like ‘Swamp Thing.'”

That was Tuesday.  On Wednesday, I was at a store trying on a shirt when I noticed what looked like several little bites on my arm and another on the other elbow.  “I’m a little jumpy about bedbugs at the moment since our son just had a bout with them in the slum where he is ministering so I got out the flashlight when I got home and stripped off the bedsheets to examine the mattress.  Nothing!  On Thursday, as I was getting dressed for bed, I was horrified to see large red welts across the back of one arm and an armpit full of red welts.  By Friday, my elbow was itching like crazy, more welts were popping up, and some were starting to blister.  For some reason, I thought I must have shingles, maybe because the last time I’d had poison ivy was in the early 1970’s.  I just figured I’d built up an immunity to it since I’d never had it since.  Well, my doctor looked me over and said, “Classic poison ivy.”

IMG_3889So now I’m dabbing myself with calamine lotion.  I went looking for something called “Zanfel wash” that my doctor recommended OTC, but the store was out of it, so I’m using another product that you spray on.  I have hydrocortisone cream at the ready.  A friend of mine suggested running a hot bath and dropping some tea bags into it.  She said you should wait until the water turns dark and then you can get in and soak.  If I can soak in tea and eat chocolate at the same time, I might give it a go.   In the same vein, other folk remedies include patting the area with cold coffee (while you drink hot tea?), wiping it with vinegar, and bathing in a lukewarm bath of oatmeal mixed with the bathwater.   Or if you are hungry for bananas, peel a banana, eat the banana and rub the inside of the peel on the rash.  Got any Preparation H cream around?  Some say that this will stop the itch.  Others say the green Aloe Vera gel will do the same thing.  I just told my hubby to pick up some bananas at the store so I think I’ll give that a try.  I’d rather smell like a banana than like vinegar.  We’ll see if any of these remedies work for me.  In the meantime, if you’re itching to get out and weed in your garden…..beware!  Who knows what’s lurking there?


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