Thursday, October 21, 2010
I never had poison ivy my sibling used to get it but it never bothered me go figure. But due to that super human strength and genetic hiccup I had no idea what the stuff looked like or little did I care. Poison sumac, oak, ivy all similar what's the big deal. Well I screwed up. Apparently our back yard is covered in the stuff. For seven years I have been crawling around in poison ivy ripping up shrubs, tearing down trees, replanting trees that nourish the birds, pushing a hand mower, planting wild daisies, jasmine, milk weed and whatever else came out of our container pots.
Then it happened and I still didn't know what was wrong with me just the upper arms. I washed treated the scars with rubbing alcohol and just couldn't figure out what was what. One day I laid my arm down on the hot upholstery of the car at the height of summer - sweet relief I burned the stuff off. Well I don't recommend that. It wasn't a bad case of poison ivy and it eventually went away.
Toodeloo toodeloo blissfully unaware I'm back in my garden next year height of summer, scorching 100 degree heat, shorts and a tank top, sweat pouring off of me and I'm crawling around clearing vines from a pup of an evergreen that had decided to grow.
Bamm, poison ivy - hey what's this stuff I got it last year. So I don't know everything (hardly) anyway. I dealt with the minor outbreak, laughed at myself for crawling around in the stuff for seven years pores wide open, and forgot all about my new allergy.
Boom last week, crawling around yet again in the back garden and weeds planting well now I'm a pro at catching the stuff and still blissfully unaware. But I think I've found a home remedy that I wanted to pass on.
For minor poison ivy sufferers I recommend Fels Naphta. It's an old fashion laundry detergent soap from the late 1800's. Invented in Philadelphia.
I tried all the over the counter stuff and it was bunk.
Shower your infected areas with the soap. Apparently the poison ivy fests on our body oils so the trick is to dry those oils out. Here's what I do. After my shower and drying off I grab the hair dryer and aim it at the infected areas.
You're going to dry your hair right? Take a second or two and balst the poison ivy on your skin. You can literally see the oils weeping out of the scars. Then after I'm done with the dryer I wet a bar of Fels Naphta just on the edge and spot apply it to the scars, cake the soap on and leave it there. It dries in seconds. Now the Fels Naphta can get kind of slick and messy so just store it in a plastic baggie under the sink.
Between the hair dryer and the Fells Naphta I have been itch free from day one of the outbreak, and slowly watching the scars disappear. I hope I remember to wear a freakin' long sleeve tee shirt next time I'm digging around back. But absent short term memory loss I think I have found a sure cure to speed the poison ivy outbreak along and neutralize the itch.
The hair dryer is key. Be careful not to burn yourself but take as much heat as you can stand. You'll see the oils weep out dry that off apply the soap and enjoy your day. Never mind the occasional flaking of the soap throughout the day its minor compared to poison ivy.
And go enjoy your garden.