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Old 08/25/06, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,488
How to clean up poison ivy

A week or so ago my dogs treed a baby coon on a fence post. They could not come to me, so I had to grab them by the scruff of the neck, drag them out, then picked them up in a bear hug and plopped them in my car.

The fence, the post, presumably the coon and definitely the dogs were covered in poison ivy. I broke out a couple days later.

It won't stop coming up. Part of the rash is healing, but I keep getting new spots. I am picking up the oil from somewhere. I know my car seat is contaminated, so I put a towel over that. I washed all the hard surfaces in the house that I came in contact with. I don't know where it is coming from, but I'd sure like to find out so I can stop breaking out. Any suggestions?

Please is a MYTH that you can spread poison ivy by scratching. Once the oil is washed off the skin, there is no spreading through scratching.

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Old 08/25/06, 05:24 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Northern CA
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Did you wash the dogs? Maybe it stayed on their fur.

I've never let my schooling get in the way of my education. -Mark Twain
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Old 08/25/06, 05:31 PM
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Location: So Cal Mtns
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Mix 50/50 bleach and water,take a shower,wash head to toe with the solution and rinsing off in shower,the oil,all of it,will be off you,guaranteed.

Im thinking you still have oil on you.

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Old 08/25/06, 05:33 PM
Alice In TX/MO's Avatar
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Old fashioned homemade soap will cut the oil. Regular bath soaps won't.
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"No great thing is created suddenly." ~Epictitus
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Old 08/25/06, 05:36 PM
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Technu is a poison ivy neutralizing wash that works pretty well to remove the urushiol oil from things and it's not harsh enough to do damage to fabric or upholstery. It can also remove the oil from skin before a rash develops if used quickly after contact.

I wish it worked on the rash.
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Old 08/25/06, 05:45 PM
Longing for home!
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Virginia
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It has been my experience that PI oil comes off with regular soaps. It will also come off as your body secretes it's own oil and when you skin sluffs off. I think that you are coming in contact with the oil from some other source. Were you pups wearing collars at the time that have not since been washed? Did the dogs go inside when they had the oil on their fur? What about your steering wheel? Could you be getting it from somewhere else on your property (another bit of PI growing somewhere)? You may want to try some cortico-steroid cream on the rash to help with the itching and inflamation.

Man, I hate poison ivy! Good luck with that!

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Old 08/25/06, 06:55 PM
2horses's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: In the beautiful Hill Country of Texas!
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It's also systemic, and will just have to run it's course. You probably have it breaking out in places that nothing contaminated touched. The best thing to do is take antihistamines and treat the breakouts with topical meds. Isopropyl alcohol works for me.

Pam <------------ has unfortunately become quite the expert on PI and it's effects
My Dad always told me, "Honey, you can do anything you put your mind to." He was right.
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Old 08/25/06, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: NC
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Mineral spirits is one of the main ingredients in Technu, I believe, and I have used it by itself to clean the oil off my skin and off other surfaces. When we had poison ivy really badly last year, I washed our sheets, our towels and our clothes daily. It helped. Also, on the rash, which has a twenty one day cycle, by the way, if you cleanse with Technu or mineral spirits (not mineral oil - very different substance), then wipe alcohol on the rash, it helps to dry out the rash. We used Calohist and Calogel for the itch control, too... Calagel is great!!! With respect to the rash, it may be that you simply have the allergy active in your system now and you will break out here and there until your twenty one day penance is over! BTW, once we got Sadie, our goat, and she started eating the poison ivy, I think we began developing a resistance to the stuff through picking up the trace elements in her milk... we didn't break out at all this year! And the stuff was everywhere on our old property! You can buy pills at your local health food store that help inhibit the allergy to poison ivy by supplying those same trace elements.
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Old 08/25/06, 07:34 PM
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the rash will surface on different skin areas at different times. This is partly due to different absorbtion rates depending on the relative softness or hardness of the skin. If the new rash is only a few days behind the first rash, then this is probably the explanation.

As you know, you can also transfer the oil around your body through rubbing or scratching if you haven't washed. I think regular soap is adequate for that purpose. if your new rash is still popping up 7 days after the intial rash you are probably in contact with the oil from clothes or another source. My guess is that if you know your car is contaminated, that is the source. Putting a towel down may not protect you particularly if you are handling the steering wheel, tuning the radio, rolling down the window etc. You will have to wash the car interior I would guess.
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Old 08/25/06, 11:19 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Indiana
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I'm starting to itch just reading the words "poison ivy"!!! I got it really bad and lost most of last month to it - lying on the couch unable to bend my arms or even feed myself. The rash lasted for about 5 weeks and kept popping up in new places after old ones started to heal! I didn't know it could go on so long. What a nightmare! I had my husband and son pull out all the PI they could find and wash the dogs, and I wiped down just about everything else with rubbing alcohol - chairs, door knobs, gate handles, car doors, etc etc. Now I have a tube of Zanfel that I'm keeping around just in case...

I hope yours is over and done with much, much sooner.
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Old 08/26/06, 12:35 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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I read once that the oil on gloves you use to pull poison ivy with can still be viable a year later if you don't wash the gloves.

if you did wash your dogs, how shaggy are they? maybe you didn't get them soapy enough.
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Old 08/26/06, 08:09 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Texas
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Posion Ivy is very hard to get cleared up on my. I usually have to go to the doctor for steroids. This summer I picked some up on my legs. I mixed baking soda, table salt and vinigar together to make a paste. I would wash my legs with soap and warm (not hot) water. Then rinse off the soap and dry. Then spread the paste on the spots, let it dry. It will stop the itching, and in about a week it started drying up.
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Old 08/26/06, 09:16 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Ky
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If you don't have homemade soap use dishwashing detergent. it is famous for grease cutting powers. wash your carseats with water and dish soap.
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Old 08/26/06, 02:08 PM
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Location: Iowa
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Plain old isopropyl alcohol will remove the oil too. I would have someone else wash your stuff instead of you. Also think about your sheets, if you slept in them the day before the break out you could have unwittingly contaminated your bed and that is how you keep getting it.
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Old 08/26/06, 04:11 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Illinois
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Perhaps it's still on your shoes?
I keep baby wipes in the vehicle and if we've been berry pickin or just think we might have been in the stuff, we wipe down everything we can--shoes, hands, door handles, steering wheels, berry buckets, etc. Then the clothing goes right in the washer and we go in the shower when we get home.
It's generally not recommended, I guess some people have gotten infection, but dh uses bleach on his PI break outs. He doesn't need to as his rashes never seem to itch and it goes away within a week. His Mom otoh, was allergic to hte stuff. She'd get it from washing his Dads' clothes and have to do the med thing. Also the homeopathic remedy Rhus Toxicodendrum is what I keep on hand to start treating it.
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Old 08/26/06, 04:26 PM
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Location: Western NY
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I feel your pain.
We've used an OTC tube of ointment called Zanfel. It was very expensive but it worked. You must follow the directions exactly.
Charleen in Western NY

A bite of butter greases your track. ~ Gramma Sarah
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Old 08/26/06, 06:56 PM
BJ BJ is offline
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Location: Mid-Missouri
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Exclamation Prednisone-Miracle Drug!

Call your doctor Monday morning and ask for a prescription of Prednisone. It will stop the itching and spread of the inflamation. You will notice improvement within the day.

Also be sure you wash those close separate and after run the rinse cycle of your washer with hot water and bleach....otherwise you'll spread the oil to the next batch of laundry.
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