I’ll just pull it up, since I’m not allergic to Poison Ivy

June 16, 2011 by
Filed under: Gardening, Lesson Learned, Our Garden 

Poison Ivy (Left) Virginia Creeper (Right)

Last Wednesday on my lunch break, Ben and I were looking at our garden’s progress, when we noticed some poison ivy on the edge of our garden.  I said, “I’ll just pull it up since I’m not allergic to Poison Ivy.”  I then proceeded to pull up the vines without gloves on.  Do not make my mistake!

Things I have learned about Poison Ivy/Virginia Creeper:

1.  Poison Ivy often grows alongside Virginia Creeper. Virginia Creeper is also poisonous.  At this point,  I am not even really sure which one caused my rash.

2.  Just because you have never had an allergic reaction to Poison Ivy, doesn’t mean that you are not allergic to the plant.  You can develop an allergy to it at any time, usually after repeated exposure.

3.  Just because you “are not allergic” to Poison Ivy doesn’t mean you are not allergic to Virginia Creeper.  Poison Ivy causes an allergic reaction after exposure because it contains an oily resin called urushiol.  Virginia Creeper causes an allergic reaction because it contains oxalate crystals.   You can be allergic to both or just one or the other.

4.  Urushiol (Poison Ivy) can remain on clothes, tools and even dead poison ivy vines for years.  Since I couldn’t really remember what I was wearing that day, Ben and I just washed everything.  We still need to clean our tools but I am not excited about going into our backyard again.

Things I have learned about the Posion Ivy/Virginia Creeper Rash:

1.  Having never had poison ivy before I had no idea how bad it sucks.  The itching is slowly driving me crazy.  It is all that I think about really.  I have been taking Benadryl at night which helps but makes me feel real loopy and sleepy.  I have also been using Caladyrl which also helps but doesn’t stop the itch.  I would suggest using both.

2.  The rash develops nasty blisters similar to the blisters you get from a really bad sunburn.  They look really gross and seep nasty liquid.  There is not much you can do about the seeping, but the liquid doesn’t cause the rash to spread which is a common misconception.  These blisters make going to work a whole other issue.  Since my rash is the worst on my wrist, I had to figure out a way to work without irritating the blisters or grossing out my fellow employees.  Although it is not a good idea to cover the rash with any type of bandages, I have found that if you need to cover it for work you can loosely cover the blister with rolled gauze.   The gauze will soak up the liquid and help you not to focus on it.

I promise you that it hurts.

3.  There are plenty of home remedies online.   I have tried two home remedies so far with no results really.  I tried mixing Apple Cider Vinegar with baking soda and pouring it over the blisters.  This did nothing.  I also tried mixing baking soda with regular vinegar and making a paste.  I applied the paste to the blisters and wrapped with saran wrap to keep it from being too messy.  I left it on for 25 minutes.  For the first 10 minutes I was less itchy but then it started itching again.  Tonight I plan on using the Aveeno Oatmeal bath, which I have heard and read works well.

In case you are suffering from either Virginia Creeper or Poison Ivy, I found these websites helpful:

Sorry this post is pretty negative but I have very negative feelings about my rash.

Update:  My rash is feeling so much better today.  It has been 4 days since I posted the photo above and I started taking Medrol (tapered dose pack of steriods) on Friday.

Here is how my rash looks this morning


I know it still looks pretty bad, but the itching has mostly stopped and the blisters are drying up!

by Selena Faye

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10 Comments on I’ll just pull it up, since I’m not allergic to Poison Ivy

  1. Dawn
    on Thu, Jun 16th 2011 @ 6:41 pm

    In case you were planning on it, don’t try bleach. It burns like a bitch and it doesn’t work. Get well soon!

    • Faye
      on Fri, Jun 17th 2011 @ 8:28 am

      Thanks for the advice! I am so ready to not being dealing with it.

  2. Kristen
    on Thu, Jun 16th 2011 @ 6:47 pm

    This shit sucks–no two ways around it. Hope the Aveeno bath works. It helped dry it up faster for me last time.

    • Faye
      on Fri, Jun 17th 2011 @ 8:28 am

      Oh and thanks for the Aveeno.

  3. Rob
    on Fri, Jul 1st 2011 @ 10:27 pm

    Next time you come in contact with out. Take a shower with dawn dish soap. It helps with the oil that causes the rash.

    • Faye
      on Mon, Jul 4th 2011 @ 1:27 pm

      Thanks, I hope I don’t come in contact with it again.

  4. Virgie
    on Tue, Jul 3rd 2012 @ 1:46 pm

    There are two scrubs:

    ZANFEL very expensive
    another one that you scrub with Walmart has both cant think of name but doctor prescribed cheap

    both work washes away ivy, oak and sumac

  5. Mare
    on Sat, Aug 25th 2012 @ 9:41 am

    at least 8 years ago – my first real battle with this rash began when I woke up… and I was home alone…. did some research online…. one article I read informed I could use breakfast oatmeal – hmmm.. so I had a boxes of the flavored oatmeal my kids eat……. so I whipped up a batch – and it stated to apply to the rash as warm as you can stand but not scorch yourself… Thank God I was home alone…. because I looked pretty silly with this goop all over my face and arms etc…. lol But I sure smelled fruity….. I let the stuff dry and then washed it off with a bearable hot wash cloth.. and some times I put wet wash cloths in the microwave to heat them and use as compress…… I also always have the Aveeno soap packets on hand and make a paste…… soap flakes and water and throw it in the microwave…. mix….. and apply when not too hot……. TECNU also helps after you know you pulled the crap out – to wash up afterwards…. Hope this helps you guys too!! 🙂

  6. http://sachngonngu.com/
    on Tue, Jun 11th 2013 @ 11:29 am

    First of all I would like to say excellent blog!
    I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Appreciate it!

    • Faye
      on Tue, Jun 11th 2013 @ 3:05 pm

      Thanks for the compliment. Sometimes you just have to start typing and “tell your story.” That is usually what I do and then clean it up and take out the rambling parts. Also sometimes I’ll write then take a break and come back to it, to make sure whatever I was writing was actually interesting. I don’t know if this helps. 🙂

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