My cure for poison ivy - JeepForum.com

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post #1 of 32 Old 04-24-2012, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
CrawlingForward
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My cure for poison ivy

So, I got poison ivy this weekend when the Jeep broke down over a patch of it and I had to crawl under to remove the front driveshaft.

A day and a half later and I had it all over my arms and legs (luckily not my face or hootus because my hands were greasy and I was trying not to touch anything).

I was doing a lot of research and the thing that bugged me is that everything you read about just relieves the itching, but doesn't get rid of it. The only one that claimed to get rid of it was washing the open wounds with bleach, which just seems like a bad idea to me.

So I thought I would share a method that's become the standard of me and the other guys I backpack with. I can assure you, I'm not trolling. This method sucks, but it works and stops the itching and the rash in one go!

1) In a hot shower, scrub the rash with soap and water until it bleeds and all the protective skin and blisters are gone. Use a loofa, use a pumice stone, but scrub till it bleeds.
2) Turn off the shower and take Morton's salt (or your store brand, etc.) and scrub the now open wounds with it. Yes it will sting, but it's worth it.
3) Now rinse the wounds of the salt and repeat until it stops stinging
4) When you're done with the shower and damp, but not dripping, rub a poultice of salt on the rash and let it dry.

VOILA! Itching and rash gone. You'll have some little scabs where the blisters were, but they won't itch and will heal up quickly.

Yes, it sounds like medieval torture, but then again, so does poison ivy.

The reason it works is the hot shower and scrubbing open the pores to allow the salt water in the dry up the oils in the skin. I woke up this morning wanting to scream from the itching and now I'm sitting on my office content as a clam. Phew.


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post #2 of 32 Old 04-26-2012, 03:37 PM
Spuznick242
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Hmmmm. I'm not sure what would be worst, the chemical burn from the bleach or the burn of the salt in your skin....but I'd go with the salt just because its beats chemicals but I bet there is some hydration afterwards that is much needed.

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post #3 of 32 Old 04-26-2012, 05:17 PM
mattcofc
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Ugh, they invented this thing called Calamine lotion a long damn time ago. You might just try that.
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post #4 of 32 Old 04-26-2012, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
CrawlingForward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattcofc
Ugh, they invented this thing called Calamine lotion a long damn time ago. You might just try that.
Yeah, but that just soothed the symptoms for a bit. I'd rather just get rid of it.

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post #5 of 32 Old 04-28-2012, 02:11 AM
NonRubicon
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Urishiol (the irritant oil in poison oak) actually binds itself to skin. Any oil that isn't already bound to skin will be spread by hot water, and hot water will actually open the pores and may allow the oils to get deeper. The reason your method worked is because you scrubbed off all the skin that the urishiol had bound itself to. Applying salt afterward causes the exposed skin cells to wither into a protective layer, accelerating the healing process. Quite an extreme method to get rid of the oils.

I use Technu to wash off the oil, and antihistamines and hot water to treat any residual itching. Some of my coworkers use Technu Extreme, which has little scrubbing beads that do a more mild version of your method, but the Technu solvent does some of the work to dissolve the oils and wash them away without requiring you to scrub till it bleeds. It may smell like petroleum oil, but it doesn't require you scrub your skin till it bleeds.

Hot water (as hot as you can take it without burning your skin) gets rid of the itching because the heat depletes the histamines in the skin. One treatment with hot water last for a couple of hours. No histamines, no itch.
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post #6 of 32 Old 04-28-2012, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
CrawlingForward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NonRubicon View Post
Urishiol (the irritant oil in poison oak) actually binds itself to skin. Any oil that isn't already bound to skin will be spread by hot water, and hot water will actually open the pores and may allow the oils to get deeper. The reason your method worked is because you scrubbed off all the skin that the urishiol had bound itself to. Applying salt afterward causes the exposed skin cells to wither into a protective layer, accelerating the healing process. Quite an extreme method to get rid of the oils.

I use Technu to wash off the oil, and antihistamines and hot water to treat any residual itching. Some of my coworkers use Technu Extreme, which has little scrubbing beads that do a more mild version of your method, but the Technu solvent does some of the work to dissolve the oils and wash them away without requiring you to scrub till it bleeds. It may smell like petroleum oil, but it doesn't require you scrub your skin till it bleeds.

Hot water (as hot as you can take it without burning your skin) gets rid of the itching because the heat depletes the histamines in the skin. One treatment with hot water last for a couple of hours. No histamines, no itch.
I did a lot of google searching when it first showed up, and yet that is a better explanation that any of the sites I've seen, thank you! A perfect summation. (And I had no actually read an explanation of why the hot water relieves the itch)

There's some other salve that evidently eliminates it in one go, but it's like $40 a tube, so no thank you.

I've actually had a secondary flare up (the original areas are still itch-free, but these are newer reactions in small spots) so I'm going to try a salt-water bath and see if that does anything without the scrubbing!

(I'm trying to find inexpensive kid-friendly solutions as a just-in-case someday!)

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post #7 of 32 Old 04-28-2012, 07:27 PM
NonRubicon
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Technu is by far the most common product available that is specifically designed to wash away the oils. I've had co-workers who used rubbing alcohol to good effect as well. Either are kid-friendly solutions. I learned of the hot-water trick from a co-worker. It works very well. Relief is immediate and rather long lasting. I always take 24-hour Claratin when I get a poison oak rash.

Technu can also be used to wash the oils off clothing or equipment that has come into contact with poison oak. I hope you carefully isolated the contaminated clothing you were wearing and didn't mix them with non-contaminated articles when you washed them. The oils could contaminate other articles of laundry and spread the oils. Almost all the occurrences of poison oak that I've had during the course of my job have been from touching something that had the oils on it, as I'm pretty cautious about brushing into the plant. When I do realize that I've come into contact with poison oak (even if it's just clothing) I make sure not to touch that spot or transfer it to vehicle interiors. From what I've read, the oils from poison oak can remain toxic (i.e. cause irritation) for years after being brushed off the plant onto something else. For sensitive people, it may only take 2 micrograms of oil to cause a reaction. Since the oil typically binds itself to the skin pretty quickly, occurrences of additional rashes (new spots after the initial rash) could likely be from touching some item that still has the oil on it.
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post #8 of 32 Old 04-29-2012, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Just checked Technu's ingredients, btw. It appears to be mostly mineral spirits.

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post #9 of 32 Old 04-29-2012, 12:00 PM
NonRubicon
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Yeah. Technu is a proprietary blend of mineral spirits and a fatty acid soap. Regular soap alone doesn't always get the oils off, and pure mineral spirits are probably too harsh to apply over your whole body (in extreme cases) as well as too fluid to allow for scrubbing. The combination though seems to work well for most people.
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post #10 of 32 Old 04-29-2012, 05:58 PM
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I don't know if any of you have ever heard of this one but i thought i'd throw it in. This one gets the sting out of bee stings. My neighbor (who told me about this) swears by it.

If you get stung by a bee do this;

1. Get Tobacco (Pipe Tobacco)
2. Moisten it (neighbor did this by putting it in his mouth, but i know a lot of people would be against this so i'd assume wetting it with water would work.)
3. Apply wet tobacco to bee sting(s).
4. Use a band-aid or tape to hold this over the area that was stung.
5. You should instantly feel the tobacco pulling the toxins the bee put into your body out.
6. After the sting is gone, leave on for another 10(ish) minutes, take it off and throw away.

Works for me.

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post #11 of 32 Old 05-06-2012, 08:55 PM
QWall
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My cure for poison ivy, I'm not allergic to it. Knock on wood.
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post #12 of 32 Old 05-17-2012, 07:26 PM
bigwahini
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X2 on the above, grew up in the woods. Rolled in it and hid in it, nothing. My dad on the other hand.....poor man breathed the smoke from a burning pile with ivy in it. BAD STUFF.

ifyoubegintothinkyou'relosingcontrol...it'salready gone
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post #13 of 32 Old 05-18-2012, 08:50 PM
OlYellerTJ
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Poison Ivy immunity comes and goes. As a kid I was VERY allergic but at 16-ish I was immune. When I hit 30-something I was getting mild reactions to PI exposure. I try to avoid it but don't sweat it if I get into a little of it. For me, washing up or using some hand sanitizer prevents most reactions (very localized when I get the itch) but using it sooner than later is the key. YMMV and invariably will...

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post #14 of 32 Old 05-29-2012, 11:29 AM
rha600
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if you're close to the ocean you can just go scuba diving or soak in there for a few hours. salt water dries it up as well.
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post #15 of 32 Old 05-29-2012, 04:20 PM
Timothy_90
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I got poison something or other pretty bad when I was a kid, maybe 7 or 8. However, in scouts I came in contact with poison ivy/oak/sumac a lot (between 11 and 17 years old) and never seemed to develop a rash. And I know I came into contact with it when I was in MN a few years ago while I was back in the woods cutting some wood for my grandmother and didn't develop a rash then either. I think it's safe to say I probably am not allergic to it but if I come into contact with it and the option is there- I'm definitely going to wash the area off just for the sake of not taking any chances.

"Build a man a fire and you can keep him warm for a day, set a man on fire and you can keep him warm for the rest of his life."
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