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Instacure for Poisen Ivy

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Instacure for Poisen Ivy

Postby tigerlilly » Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:41 pm

A "friend" accidently wiped, using of all things, two poisen ivy leaves. Long story short, my "friend" was in a really bad way. (I'd be laughing hard right now, if I didn't see the rash for myself first hand)

It took us two days of driving, but we got there.

We brought him/her to the beach and had them soak in the ocean water for a half hour.

Tada! No more poisen ivy! It was completely healed the next day.

I stumbled on this trick as a child, when I got some on my hand. I went swimming in the ocean and noticed it cleared up miraculously the next day.

I pass this along in case this happens to someone you love! ;-)
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Postby nartreb » Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:36 am

Thanks for the reminder, I'm going to mention that in my Paranoid Hiker's Guide (a work in progress).

Except I'll point out you can get the same effect by driving to the grocery store and purchasing a container of salt and a bucket.

Though given the location of this rash, driving to the ocean was probably safer than the bucket, in terms of not ending up with photos on Facebook.
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Postby Foxy Long Bottoms » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:04 am

Ahhhhh, an excuse to go back to the beach! I am seriously going to use this excuse if I begin to flare up. I had a lil run-in tonight with the stuff.
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Postby tigerlilly » Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:54 pm

I'm curious to know if salt water is the cure or if ocean water is the cure.

Anyone care to take on the experiment?!
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Postby SpiderSavage » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:21 pm

I can personally attest that the salt water in the Pacific Ocean does not cure the poison oak that one can get in California.

The poison in poison oak is a very sticky tarry substance. In large amounts it appears black. It is sticky beyond belief and transfers. Water, warm water, and the wrong kinds of soap just move it around and affect more skin.

I've found Technu products work quite well.
Last edited by SpiderSavage on Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby rhyang » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:14 pm

Initially washing in cold water can help because it tends to close the pores in the skin.

The 'poison' in poison oak is called urushiol oil.

Once you have the itching and rash (2 or 3 days later), pretty much the only thing that helps is time .. takes about a week and a half or so for it to go away.

For minor cases I take a homeopathic remedy made by Hyland's to help with the itching and oozing. Some people say they take this stuff prior to PO-laden trips to build up a temporary immunity, but I haven't tried that...

If I have a really big rash, then I apply some topical hydrocortisone creme like Corticool for temporary relief. If it's really bad, your doctor can give you prednisone.
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Postby MoapaPk » Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:51 pm

squishy wrote:And does this work on Poison Oak as well?


Same genus, same type of poison. We need a West Coast comparison.
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Postby Haliku » Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:13 pm

A natural treatment or for prevention is the sap of the Jewelweed plant. Too bad it is only found in Iowa and farther east. I used it many times growing up in PA. Cheers!
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Postby Yeti » Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:20 pm

Iteresting reads alla round. Here are some basics on what I understand about poison Ivy:

-The plants secrete urushiol oil, which gets on your skin, and whater cannot take it off.
-It does not burn you, and is "kinda-technically" not checmically toxic, in that it it doesn't reall do anything to you.....
-"It doesn't do anything to you", you do something to it. The rash is an allergic reaction, and some lucky bastards aren't allergic to it.

So, knowing this, and that I react to it: when I get the first sign, I reach for the first degreaser I can find and head to the shower. Bleach works, but sucks. orang clean, scrubbing bubbles, etc etc, will all take the oil off. After the oil is gone, it's up to your own body to stop reacting.
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Postby nartreb » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:14 pm

it gets on your skin, and water cannot take it off.

It's an oil, so it's not water-soluble. Lots of scrubbing with ordinary soap and hot water will basically work, but not as well as some of the specialty soaps on the market. Your skin is sensitive to incredibly tiny amounts of this stuff, so just removing most of it just isn't good enough.

After the oil is gone, it's up to your own body to stop reacting.


That's where strong astringents come in. Jewelweed sap is a great example.

In the absence of jewelweed, you can try tannins: make a poultice from oak bark or fir bark or witch hazel bark [many other plants work too]).

My theory is that salt water has an astringent-like effect. The alternative theory would be some kind of catalysis/reaction involving trace minerals in seawater (zinc or copper, maybe?). I think I know how to do a controlled experiment (won't be even single-blind though), stay tuned.
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Postby Kerstin » Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:36 am

The first time I ever had a major case of Poison Oak, it seemed to last forever. I was living in a communal household with a dog who would get out and run around in the huge Poison Oak plants in the hills of Santa Cruz. I remember jokingly straddling the dog, a Great Dane mix, while wearing shorts.

I developed a horrible rash on my inner thighs that crept upward slowly. I also had a rash on my hands, wrists, nose, neck and ears. The rash would not go away even though I washed everything I had and used Tech-Nu constantly. It was so bad I could hardly walk.

After over a month of no sleep and general agony, a friend told me to get into the ocean. I did. The rash started healing noticeably the next day and went away soon after. I don't think the salt water removed the oil, that was long gone, but it seemed to have some kind of healing, anti-inflammatory property. It seemed to calm down my immune system in just the right way.
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Postby Buz Groshong » Sat Sep 26, 2009 8:03 pm

Alcohol wipes help if you use them right away. Other solvents can also remove the oil. Once it gets absorbed into the skin, I am told that it reacts with the skin cells which then reproduce a compound similar to it (like a prion does). This is why it lasts so much longer than other allergies; you need to shed the skin cells that are producing the other compound (or remove them with abrasion). Salt water does seem to help (maybe by drying up the skin).
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Postby tigerlilly » Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:09 am

Got my chance at last to re-test my poisen ivy theory.

Got poisen ivy from pulling weeds last week. (Thought I showered it all off, but no.)

My friends who went to the beach over the wknd, brought me back some sea water.

Soaked a paper towell in the water, applied it to the spot. Held it there for about an hour.

VOILA!!!!!!

Gone the next day.

Time for a patent! :twisted:
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Postby MoapaPk » Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:40 am

We need a control and a double-blind study.
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Postby tigerlilly » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:56 pm

Did I just find my first volunteer?! :D
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