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Author Topic: Poison ivy, oak, sumac  (Read 2117 times)

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Offline Sauna freak

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Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« on: February 20, 2021, 08:05:48 PM »
My nemesis in the woods is poison ivy and it's relatives. I'm severely allergic, a severe exposure can require hospitalization. Since I work in underground utilities, I'm constantly on the watch for it and despite my best efforts usually get at least a mild case a couple times per year.

Recently, I visited family in South Carolina to help them get the forested portion of their new homestead in order and come up with a management plan. Part of the project was dropping a few dead loblolly pines that were quite large, and using the logs for some projects. I was informed of the presence of poison oak in the area, so took extreme care not to contact any of the undergrowth, and remove and clean clothes and my body immediately after work with Fels Naptha. What I didn't know, was that the stuff grows on vines down there! Big, nasty, hairy vines that were twining all around the trees I was cutting, milling and manhandling. I thought the vines were just virginia creeper or muscadine. Didn't quite require the hospital, but did get some prescription meds and was pretty miserable for a week. I'll take the MN cold vs poison ivy that climbs trees!

What are some of your home remedies and precautions to avoid the urishol family while in the woods hunting, working, etc?  Shot/vaccination/immunity cures?  Good method of killing the viney stuff?
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2021, 08:24:55 PM »
so the oil causes a contact dermatitis.  keep your skin covered if you are in the vicinity.  mostly in shaded tree areas.  If you get a known swipe of a leaf or vine go wash with soap.  anything that will make the oil soluble in water.  dawn gets all the attention, but not necessary.  If you get the rash, antihistamines block the itch/rash for a few hours, but do not shut down the immune response.  Steroids like prednisone, shut the reaction down in a few days.  if you keep getting new areas of rash, over several days, it is from the initial exposure, not from scratching if you washed up.  learn to be wary and to identify it.  and then avoid.  nothing magical, you need contact to get it.  but if cutting a vine with a chainsaw, it will spray the oil.  they say after cutting a tree down, that after a few years, the vine may be devoid of oil.  I guess you can go touch and see.  
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2021, 08:58:56 PM »
   My wife is very much allergic to it and I am not so she frequently gets it from me. Also she sometimes gets it from firewood that had the vine on it and I am thinking many of those vines had been dead a long time so I'd be real careful around them. Some of the worst cases come from breathing smoke from burning leaves and vines so be sure to avoid that. It can get in your lungs and my wife has problems with it getting in her eyes.

   I generally have no reaction at all even when I have been working in it for a good while. My wife can get it just rubbing against the clothes I wore in the woods. I don't remember the last time I saw Poison sumac although it, poison oak and poison ivy are all the same genus Rhus. I think staghorn sumac, smooth sumac (which may be the same) and winged sumac are the same genus but I never heard of them causing any problems. 

   Trumpet creeper or Cowitch vibe is another vine we have that has some toxicity but not as bad as the others from what I have seen.
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2021, 09:18:43 PM »
I'm not very susceptible to poison ivy or poison oak.  I have had poison ivy a few times and I had a little poison oak while fighting wildfires in CA.  I was always taught by my grandma to use vinegar to help reduce the chance of getting it.  If I feel I have been exposed to some, I'll wipe my legs or arms down with a paper towel soaked with some white vinegar.  Vinegar is not proven to be a remedy, but it seems to work.

One common misconception about poison ivy is that it can spread once you have it.  That is not the case.  The rash comes from exposure to the oil.  If you get rashes in new spots, it means you are continually being exposed to the oil.  This is why bathing with plenty of warm soapy water is important.  Also, make sure that any clothes or other objects you had with you when you were exposed have been washed.  People have been known to get poison ivy from their animals who were exposed to the plants.  The dogs can transfer the oil to furniture in the house.
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Offline red

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2021, 09:59:20 PM »
Goats Milk and goats milk soap 
We have a lot of good boys and girls in harms way
lets all support them and their familys.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2021, 10:36:41 PM »
Im very allergic now.. Wasnt at all as a kid.  Have had it dozens of times.  Nothing works better than learning them all and having an eye to stay out of it in the first place.  After that, a prescription steroid like docs says was hands down the fastest i ever got cured.  Ive gotten it off snowplows or mower decks in the middle of winter. 


Never ever go near a furry vine.  Poison sumac is a pretty rare swamp loving tree.. Most people see a staghorn sumac and think it poison sumac. There are a ton of sumacs though. Poison sumac has a smooth leaf edge and red stems in the berry cluster. 
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Offline azmtnman

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2021, 11:10:21 PM »
I was REALLY allergic to poison ivy when I was a kid growing up in Indiana. 
I got allergy shots as a kid. The 1st Dr. gave them to me about March? The Dr. my grandma worked for said that wasn't early enough in the year and started giving them to me in January. The shots and the timing made a big difference. I seem to have outgrown the severe allergy but can still get it.
  As far as remedies, Cortizone cream was my go-to.  I had a bout with it a couple years ago that didn't seem to want to go away. I scrubbed the infected area with a stiff-bristled brush and poured bleach on it. I have used that method more than once in my lifetime especially when it gets so bad it gets the watery blisters. It's healing in a day or 2 after the bleach treatment. It burns like a torch but gets the job done!
  I know it's anecdotal and medical professionals disagree with me, but it can spread. I've had those watery areas that run down my arm and the rash will follow DAYS LATER! I've also had places that touch other places on me and spreads it to the other place like inside of my elbow. If it's a wives tale that scratching it spreads it, where did that come from? It sure wasn't from laboratory research. Maybe it depends on the individual and severity of the allergy?
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2021, 11:17:47 PM »
  As Mike says Poison sumac is pretty rare. The best thing to remember is the old adage "Leaves of three - leave it be". Poison sumac is the only one with 3 leaves. The others have more leaves than that.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2021, 05:34:25 AM »
poison ivy has 3 leaves as well.  the first rash to show up is the biggest dose or concentration of the oil.  often it shows up like a line, and spreads.  the line is where the leaf or vine rubbed as you walk by.  you can touch the oil and transfer it somewhere else.  but after you have washed it off, the rash is set and there is no more oil to move around.  you can get it from fomite spread if there is enough oil, like on boots.  so the rash that shows up on day three was an exposure on day 1 and just took awhile to manifest.  the study of contact dermatitis was done with punch biopsies and microscopy.  i have heard of the brush and bleach thing, but seems like adding insult to injury.   :o 8) :)
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2021, 07:46:06 AM »
Im very allergic now.. Wasnt at all as a kid.  Have had it dozens of times.  Nothing works better than learning them all and having an eye to stay out of it in the first place.  After that, a prescription steroid like docs says was hands down the fastest i ever got cured.  Ive gotten it off snowplows or mower decks in the middle of winter.


Never ever go near a furry vine.  Poison sumac is a pretty rare swamp loving tree.. Most people see a staghorn sumac and think it poison sumac. There are a ton of sumacs though. Poison sumac has a smooth leaf edge and red stems in the berry cluster.
Thats my experience-when younger poison ivy often didn't affect my skin but in my senior years it does easily.
Years ago i was clearing old pines to sell as pine posts and ivy is of course common on field pines-never bother me much. Seemed worse though if you cut into a big vine at the base in spring when the sap went flying onto you arms or face! Now, I pull them off of saw logs with gloved hands before I skid them. 
Cute story: One of our twins when early teens thought he'd make his Mom a gift and went into our woods collecting what he thought was a grape vine. Had it all rolled up nice and neat and was itching not long after he got it to her. She's savy enough woods wise to have seen the hairy aspect and never touched "her gift" meanwhile his forearms were miserable for days. 
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2021, 07:55:10 AM »
I have that stuff here. Been fighting it for years. My Father did too. No vines here, well not on my land. The glaciers keep it at bay.  :D That poison ivy that I have been fighting years is in the woods at the edge of a field. I have been spraying in the woods, trying to kill it. It will try to come back, if I don't keep right at it. 
I bought back some of The Farm. Had a so called stone wall covered in that stuff. I kept that wall barren for 3 years. If it was green I sprayed it. Killed the poison ivy and hauled the stone wall off to the bog. We mow it now.
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2021, 08:00:23 AM »
Eradication of poison ivy on our land would be a lifetime, :D FT job...
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2021, 08:31:55 AM »
I am very poor at poison ivy identification but have my own superstition of removal that involves multiple hot/cold shower and fels naphtha.  But, I read about and use an itch relief method that works quite well.  I run warm water over the affected area and gradually increase the temperature until I can't stand it any more.  By increasing gradually you will be able to tolerate a higher temp than if you just started hot.  Once you reach your limit the itch will be gone for hours.  It never fails to work for me.

Doug in SW IA

Offline Magicman

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2021, 08:36:36 AM »
What I didn't know, was that the stuff grows on vines down there! Big, nasty, hairy vines that were twining all around the trees



 
Yes I would say that; "Big, nasty, hairy vines" is very descriptive.
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Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2021, 08:55:30 AM »
Growing up, lo those many years ago, we had a neighbor that used a unique method for his sensitivity to poison ivy.  Each spring when the plants came to life (in Ohio) he would collect the new leaves, roll them up into a capsule, and swallow them.

Seemed to work for him, but he seldom got off the sidewalk. 

I would not recommend such behavior.

A parallel:  In in the '60's we had an elder gentleman working as a care taker on a state forest here in Texas.  We had a very serious out break of southern pine beetle through out the east part of the state.  Our only treatment at the time was to cut the recent infected trees and spray the stems with BHC.  The elder gentleman saw the BHC killing the bugs and decided that it would also kill the flu.  Took a teaspoon a day till we found out about it and explained the problem. 

But he didn't catch the flu.
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2021, 09:36:00 AM »
My Wife's Mamaw was a plant person royale! She knew everything natural world wise and drank pokeberry juice every year. She died from a stroke, age 91 some years back. 
IMO, Magicman wins the thread with that picture?  Me, I'm not eating poison ivy leaves, call me a chicken.  
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2021, 12:43:10 PM »
     I am usually not affected severely by poison ivy, but neither do I push my luck.
     Not going to derail the thread, but those darn chiggers....I let the bears and birds have the black berries.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2021, 12:51:21 PM »
 

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2021, 03:14:50 PM »
During a financially embarrassing time I used to be gainfully employed by BellSouth and we had alcohol wipes to clean our skin if we came in contact with poison ivy. Or creosote, another job hazard. Well yeah, if you "know" you came in contact that's easy enough. Worst exposure I ever had when I cut a big hairy vine and a small fragment managed to land un noticed under my watch band. I keep a few alcohol wipes in my range bag because my shooting glasses tend to fog up. Those big hairy vines? Garlon and diesel works very well from a safe distance.

Offline Sauna freak

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2021, 04:00:44 PM »
Magicman, that picture looks almost exactly like the logs I was cutting up.  Got the worst reactions on my left forearm where I was leaning into the trunk for bore cutting and bear hugging the tree to get a cable around the trunk LOL.  Also a bit of a shadow around my safety glasses, and a nice bit around the belt line and the cuffs of my boots where sawdust collected.  My bar nut thumb and finger got it pretty good also.

Now I know the stuff grows on vines in the south!
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2021, 06:14:48 PM »
Nope.  I dont care if its a 5ft veneer. That things stayin on the stump.  
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2021, 06:38:43 PM »
That "thing" pictured above that is on the sawmill loader got sawed....Poison Ivy and all.


 


 


 



 
Mostly 2" X one and two live edge slabs.  Yup, we sawed it all.  ;D
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2021, 12:06:27 AM »
  i have heard of the brush and bleach thing, but seems like adding insult to injury.   :o 8) :)
The brush and bleach is a quick fix especially for really bad cases--like the really watery blisters. Like I said, it burns like heck!
Sunburn will help fix it too. Probably like the hot water mentioned.
I've heard of putting rhubarb leaves on a poison ivy rash but I've never tried it myself.
I still wouldn't get near a log like Magicman's even though I don't get it as bad! I guess I can be glad I didn't grow up down south!!! 
Out here, I don't see it too often. It's only around the rivers. I was along Oak Creek in Sedona a couple summers ago and saw 99% of the poison ivy I've ever seen in Arizona all in one place. I wondered how many unsuspecting tourist walk through there and wake up itchy the next morning!  :D
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2021, 01:16:59 AM »
I spent my 11 to 19 years in NY and poison ivy was EVERYWHERE!  Got real good at identifying it from a distance when riding bikes through the woods. ;D  I think I remember that poison ivy is only found east of the Mississippi and poison oak west.  

Lots of p.o. out here.  The Scouts (Cub and Boy) learn to chant "leaves of 3, let it be" but since black berries have leaves of 3, added "but if its hairy (leaves), its a berry!"
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2021, 08:03:30 AM »
If the vine has "hair", it's Poison Ivy.  If it has "legs", it's Virginia Creeper.
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2021, 12:54:30 PM »
Technu*.  Sold almost everywhere. Made in Oregon.  Nothing beats predisone for getting rid of it though. 

Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2021, 05:51:21 PM »
I spent a couple weeks working over fence, a lot of it along the crick, and had to rebuild the crick crossing, as the county did some tree trimming and tore it down, and anyway got a huge collection of poison ivy.  Last couple days it has gotten a little tough.  Had the remedys of the last bout, but was out of poison ivy soap,  Had some of the Ivarest foam wash, not nearly as good as Grandma's poison ivy and oak soap.  The ingredients are colodial oatmeal.  As soon as I washed with the stuff, it felt better.  Also been using equate itch relief, it is just a benedryl cream.  Was told to get this Rulia cream, but did not find it in stores. It is on amazon, but would like to avoid buying from DR Evil.
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Offline barbender

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2021, 01:09:02 AM »
I get poison ivy so bad you could probably talk me into selling my soul for a remedy, let alone an Amazon order😬😁 I've got a fresh batch on the back of my hand right now from a wild asparagus picking excursion last week, I'm lucky that's all I got. I do avoid touching my face or anything when I'm picking asparagus because Ivy and asparagus nearly always grow together, but we've had a cool spring and things have been late to bloom. I thought I was getting 1 batch of asparagus before the Ivy sprouted. I was wrong😬 
  In MN, I haven't seen it growing in vine form. Just on the ground is bad enough, up in the trees too? Sheesh! Ivy doesn't care about the Mississippi either, it is doing quite well out in Wyoming. 
  I've had several experiences where I get the initial rash, and I continue to get new outbreaks in other areas for days afterward, even after really washing down with soap. I thought I read about the allergic reaction being triggered around the body and not just where the oil contacted? Doc you'll have to set me straight on that, all I do know is I have got it many, many times where it continues to spread for 5-6 days after the first rash. It's like creeping death- i find it on my wrist, for instance. I rush to the sink and scrub off my arms then my face. Change my clothes. Take a shower. Then the next day, feel a bit on my neck. Then later, on my face. The next day, a spot on my chest. The day after that, oh my gosh you've got to be kidding me I can't have it on that!😬😬 But I do👎👎 FWIW, it's actually worse having it on your face than your man parts🤷🏽‍♂️ Gosh I hate Ivy!!
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2021, 06:16:30 AM »
That did it. I ain't reading this topic any more. Might even not pick my asparagus any more.  :D 
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2021, 06:48:15 AM »
Get an old plastic gallon milk jug or something like that.  Mix several tablespoons of liquid soap with the gallon of water.  Shake well and carry that in your car/truck/tractor.  Anytime you think you've gotten into poison ivy just wash any exposed skin.  DON'T touch your pants/boots or anything else that brushed the poison ivy.  

Soap and water within 30 mins of contact will keep the problem oil from penetrating your skin.  When in doubt, just wash.  Keep the jug full and even some papertowels, nothing wrong with emptying a good bunch of soapy water on your face/neck if that keeps off the poison ivy.  

The other thing to remember is that your boots will have traces of the oil, so the next morning after lacing up wash your hands again.  After 24 hours the oil should have oxidized, leaving boots outside in the sun helps, pants too.  

For really bad poison ivy the local doc can give you a corticosteroid. 

Dogs can be an issue, they can have it on fur and you can pet them and pick up some oils.  
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2021, 07:36:40 AM »
I don't remember the last time I saw Poison sumac although it, poison oak and poison ivy are all the same genus Rhus.
Poison ivy and poison oak are in the genus Toxicodendron.  Poison sumac is indeed in the genus Rhus, like all the sumacs.  Posin ivy and poison oak have tri-foliate compound leaves.  Poison sumac has a very large pinnate compound leaf with many leaflets.   
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2021, 08:39:17 AM »
washing the oil off is time sensitive.  so once you get the rash the washing remedies are over.  there is a pre contact barrier you can put on your skin to keep the oil from penetrating.  if you know you will be in it, then wear long pants and shirts, hats and face shield if needed.  the body responds to the oil after is soaks in the skin.  some say it needs to be washed in as little as 15 minutes.  it depends on the dose, and the type of skin.  you are more likely to get it on softer skin (back of the hand) and less on the palm.  It is a contact dermatitis and does involve histamine release.  so steroids can shut this down in a few days.  hot body temps (exercise, bath, clothing) can increase release of histamine.  antihistamine can help with the itch by blocking histamine receptors, but does not stop the reaction.  topical histamine and steroid creams might help for a small area, but not practical to do over large areas.  As well the rash area that had lower dose/volume of oil may not show up for a few days.  this is why it appears to spread days later. scratching does not spread the rash (after the oil is gone) but can stimulate the release of more histamine.  you can spread the oil if it is in high concentration, but the new rash (days later) is more likely just taking longer to show up from the initial exposure.  prevention is the best, and therefore you need to train your spiny senses to be aware and always looking when in treed shady areas.  dead plants can harbor the oil for years, especially the big vines.  if you cut a vine with a chainsaw, and do not touch the vine, the oil spray will get on you face and neck, so cover yourself if you realize and plan to saw anyway.  If you are very allergic, just walk away.  prevention is the best, but requires knowledge, attention, planning and preparation for work in infested areas.  I give prescriptions for my lawn care buddy 100 pills at a time.  it should be started as soon as possible to stop the rash sooner rather than later.  If you are a outdoor professional, see if you doc will let you have some on hand, presuming you know what poison ivy rash looks and feels like.   :o   8)   :'(   :snowball:   :D :D :D
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2021, 08:33:55 AM »
Adding on to the topic:

Its not poisonous in the truest sense but humans are typically HIGHLY allergic to it. 

As a kid it bothered me quite badly, now its not but just a small bump or 3. I dont go rolling around in it and I try to keep a watchful eye out for it. But I know that some work just must get done. It does bother the wife to no end.

Dont hate on me because Im lucky, Im surprised that I am. It didnt bother dad at all. He could sleep in it with 0 ill effects. 

Spring squirrel season is some of the most unique times regarding an encounter with the stuff. You are really likely to see it then, at least in my neck of the woods. Young growth without much yet in the way of leaves, plus youre concentrated looking for tree rats not ivy or snakes. But guaranty that once come across either, the days hunt is over because youre more concerned about that than looking for your game!
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2021, 11:47:40 PM »
I tend not to be far from a can of ether or brakekleen or carb cleaner.  Handy for seed ticks, surprise ant nests, wood boring bee holes and immediate poison ivy oil treatment.  If i hack a fews vine with a hatchet or loppers, the tool gets ethered off. 
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2021, 12:11:24 AM »
Not bleach, but I did learn by accident that cement will dry up ivy. Now cement is nasty stuff that you should avoid getting on your skin (I got a bad chemical burn on my legs from it once, but that's another story😊). I was working clearing sites for septics with my Grandpa one summer, I had a steady stream of ivy. I'd get a fresh batch when the last one just scabbed over. All the way to the end of October, and I had some fresh blisters bubbling up😬 Well, we were laying block and I managed to scrape the blisters on my wrist and forearm open moving block. Got mortar on it too. Yes, it stung bad, but by evening that stuff was dried up. I told a friend about it who works on a tree crew, the next spring he was in my yard begging me to apply cement to his forearms which were covered in ivy. "Come on brother, I've already scratched it all open with a wire brush!" Being he was at his wits end, I applied some cement and he went his way. Dried it up for him too. Line I said, not healthy- but I'm afraid he was ready to run out in front of a truck or something otherwise😬😂
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2021, 12:28:47 AM »
Not bleach, but I did learn by accident that cement will dry up ivy.
Maybe the lime in it?
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2021, 07:55:53 AM »
both bleach and cement are alkaline.  but I cannot fathom that adding a strong chemical to inflamed skin makes it better any faster.   :)   8)
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2021, 09:00:07 AM »
both bleach and cement are alkaline.  but I cannot fathom that adding a strong chemical to inflamed skin makes it better any faster.   :)   8)
Clorox was a local remedy for poison ivy........and my Grandparents would use Kerosene on a number of ailments. :D :D


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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2021, 11:51:48 AM »
i hosed some ground P.I. down 2 days ago in a windex bottle shaped roundup poison ivy killer.  didnt do anything at all. 

guess i will have to mix up the glyphosate soon. 
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2021, 01:19:36 PM »
I think it has to be a "brush" killer.  to be overly, perfectly clear, you are talking about spraying the weeds, not your rash, as has also been commented on in this thread.  Prob. obvious, but hey I am a  doc.   We use a bleach bath for some skin conditions like cutaneous abscess, and MRSA.  the patient is instructed to as a "half cap" of bleach to a bath once a week.  do you think anyone ever heard "half a cup!"  of course they did, and then they are back in the ED with a chemical burn.   :D
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2021, 01:27:43 PM »
My Grandad told me that his Mom would wash their hair with kerosene if they got head lice. He said the problem was, the kerosene gave the lice diarrhea and they pulled out all of his hair to wipe with🤣

Doc, whether it was the lime or what in cement I don't know. I do know that cement will dry your skin out really bad which in the case of an ivy rash, I found to be a good thing😊
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