Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Poison Ivy Outbreak

Our puppy, Sheila, is such a friendly and helpful dog.  She brings me my slippers.  She brings me my shoes.  She loves to curl up and cuddle next to us on the couch.

And, most recently, she unknowingly brought me a nasty case of poison ivy rash.

Please do not read any further if you don't want to see some really gross photos that should be located in a medical journal, but are actually close up looks at the rash on my arms.

I started breaking out with the itchy, red spots ten days ago, and at first I thought I had been the recipient of some bug bites.  I was sitting at an outdoor graduation ceremony, and so I figured that the spots were probably from mosquitos.

Over the next few days the number of spots multiplied, and it soon became clear that I was having a full blown case of poison ivy.

It was a mystery to me, though, how I had contacted the oils from the plant.  It's not as if I've been doing any hiking.  I'm still recovering from heel surgery nine weeks ago, and at this point, a brief trip to the grocery store (and using the jazzy scooter while there of course) is still a major outing for me.

The best I could figure is that the puppy had run through a patch of it, gotten the oil (urushiol) on her fur, and then shared it with me.

So, I'm wanting to scratch, gouge, and shred my skin from the incessant itching.  It even wakes me up during the night.  I'm treating it the old fashioned way by applying Calamine Lotion at regular intervals during the day and before bedtime, but even that sets off the itching again.

It's amazing how a simple rash can darn near make a person go crazy.

Here it is, ten days after the onset, and I'm still (pardon the grossness ahead) breaking out in liquid filled blisters.

Because I had a scheduled session of physical therapy this morning, and because I am concerned about exposing my current grossness to others, I did a bit of research before I went.

Here's what I learned about poison ivy:

Although ugly, the rash is not contagious to you or to others.  You cannot catch or spread a rash after it appears, even if you touch it or the blister fluid, because the urushiol will already be absorbed or washed off the skin.  The rash may seem to be spreading, but either it is still developing from earlier contact or you have touched something that still has urushiol on it.

Last evening the husband/lover/gardener was doing a few chores in the yard, and when he came in, he said, "I think I have found where your poison ivy came from."

Apparently there was one lonely plant of it growing from the neighbor's yard under our fence and into our yard.  Our dog has a regular route she runs in our yard when she needs to burn some energy, and the plant happened to be located right along her route.

My gardener removed the offending plant, and immediately went and took a good shower.  Perhaps the dog needs a good scrub too.

If there's one positive thing that I can take from this unpleasant experience, it's learning a great new word.


Urushiol is bad.

Urushiol will make you itch.

Urushiol is not your friend.

Stay away from the urushiol.


  1. Well that sucks. I'm still a bit itchy from wasp bites from over a week ago, so I *somewhat* feel your pain. Or itch, or whatever. Are you doing the Calamine thing? Or did you go with Benadryl? Or maybe both?
    I went through an entire bottle of Benadryl, but that was to keep down the swelling and try and hamper the itching. It mostly worked.

  2. Try Technu creme. It worked great for Jeff's poison ivy.

  3. So far I have gotten through 70 years without having a rash from poison ivy or oak. I have pulled it out of trees with my bare hands and have had it drooped around my neck. I guess I am not allergic to it. My Uncle, on the other hand, could get it from the smoke if there was some of it on a log that was burning.

  4. I'm with Dizzy-Dick - no poison ivy yet for me and I hope never in this life time.But for me it's because I've never been near the stuff. I can't imagine how bad it must itch and it would drive me into insanity. A mosquito bite does that to me. Sure hope it goes away soon. I think Sheila definitely needs a nice soothing shampoo.

  5. Sheila sure is a beautiful looking dog.

    I can't remember if I've ever had poison ivy but what I do know is I'll be humming that "Poison Ivy" song all night long now!

  6. Poison Ivy always does a number on me. It spread all over me within 24 hours. Horrible! I usually require multiple steroid shots. I hope you recover quickly.

  7. I'm itchy just reading this! I've never had poison ivy/sumac/oak and I hope I never do. Hope the calamine is working! Bonnie