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[l/m 5/2/2007] Oak/Ivy Distilled Wisdom (18/28) XYZ

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Part10 - Part11 - Part12 - Part13 - Part14 - Part15 - Part16 - Part17 - Part18 - Part19 - Part20 - Part21 - Part22 - Part23 - Part24 - Part25 - Part26 - Part27 - Part28 - MultiPage )
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TABLE OF CONTENTS of this chain:

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
18/ Poison ivy, frequently ask, under question		<* THIS PANEL *>
19/ Lyme disease, frequently ask, under question
20/ "Telling questions" backcountry Turing test
21/ AMS
22/ Babies and Kids
23/ A bit of song (like camp songs)
24/ What is natural?
25/ A romantic notion of high-tech employment
26/ Other news groups of related interest, networking
27/ Films/cinema references
28/ References (written)
1/ DISCLAIMER
2/ Ethics
3/ Learning I
4/ learning II (lists, "Ten Essentials," Chouinard comments)
5/ Summary of past topics
6/ Non-wisdom: fire-arms topic circular discussion
7/ Phone / address lists
8/ Fletcher's Law of Inverse Appreciation / Rachel Carson / Foreman and Hayduke
9/ Water Filter wisdom
10/ Volunteer work
11/ Snake bite
12/ Netiquette
13/ Questions on conditions and travel
14/ Dedication to Aldo Leopold
15/ Leopold's lot.
16/ Morbid backcountry/memorial
17/ Information about bears

Panel 18

Subject: FAQ on Poison Oak/Ivy

Poison Oak and Ivy

Summary
   If you do nothing, it'll heal in two weeks.  If you try all these
   over the counter and/or natural remedies, wait 14 days.  If you go
   to the doctor for serious mind altering steroids, it's gone within a day.

What is it and how does it work?

   Various species of the genus Rhus.  The sap and crushed leaves
   contain a chemical which is absorbed by skin cells.  The body
   mounts an immune response to these contaminated cells.  Once begun,
   the reaction ends only when all the contaminated cells have been
   shed.  This is one argument for scratching as much as possible, at
   the expense of additional scarring.

What are effective treatments?

   There are a lot of conflicting suggestions for treatment.
   Antihistamines are either very effective or worthless.  If the
   affected area is small enough, self treatment with over the counter
   remedies can provide 'temporary relief'.  One cheap suggestion is
   to apply very hot (but not scalding) water to the area, which is
   supposed to provide several hours of relief by deadening the nerves
   in the area.  One person reported losing a lot of skin with this
   method.  Others report that the itching recurs worse than before,
   possibly due to increased blood flow in the area.  I did not try
   this method.

   Various over the counter remedies (rhuligel, caladryl, calamine
   lotion, benadryl) contain alcohol which appears to work by cooling
   and drying the area.  This is reputed to cause cracking and even
   more itching.  In my case, the itching returned very quickly.
   Hydrocortisone cream is supposed to be effective, although some
   people indicate that over the counter concentrations are too weak
   to be effective.  I observed no response to over the counter
   hydrocortisone.

   Symptoms may persist for up to two weeks after exposure.  None of
   the above remedies will reduce this time.

   For more serious or widespread cases, a doctor can prescribe
   steroids which apparently suppress the immune response to
   contaminated cells.  Topical steroid creams are less effective, but
   may be preferable because they aren't systemic (absorbed) (some
   people warn that this is not true when used in the quantities
   required for a large affected area).  Oral, systemic
   gluco-cortico-steroids may cause behavioral changes, but are
   effective and rapid (my symptoms disappeared within 24 hours).

How can I prevent this?

   Learn to recognize and avoid the plant.  If exposed, wash the
   affected area as quickly as possible with soap and cold water (hot
   water is reputed to cause the pores to open and allow the oak oil in).
>> A product called Tecnu is supposed to break down the active
   ingredient in the oil.  It's available at some drug stores, or from
   Solutions (1-800-342-9988).  It's supposedly recommended by power
   company linemen.  The oil is very easily spread, and can persist in
   crystalline form on clothing or other contacted items (including
   pets) for many months (years?), so you should wash anything you may
   have touched.  Scratching affected areas after symptoms develop can
   not spread the infection, but different levels of exposure, and
   secondary exposures, can cause delayed reactions (2-3 days) in
   adjacent areas, giving the impression of spreading.

   There are supposed to be naturopathic regimens to develop immunity
   to poison oak.  Some people are naturally immune.

   Under no circumstances should you burn the plant;
   the smoke is as potent as the plant itself.
   "Inhaling the smoke can produce a systemic reaction,
   including potentially serious lung inflammation."
	
References:
Medicine for Mountaineering.

An older copy of this file (check last modified dates) can be found at:
ftp: sunSITE.unc.edu:
pub/academic/agriculture/sustainable_agriculture/health-safety-FAQs

 TAG LINE



From: Roni Burrows <AIVAB%ASUACAD.BITNET@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU>
Subject:      Poison ivy treatment (Hot showers)

A ways back I EMAILed you a response to your posting on poison ivy.  I believe
that you responded inviting me to send more info (sorry, I lost my copy of
your response).  Here is a direct quote from my source.  I like the book;
it's easy to understand and not condescending.  The poison ivy - hot shower
treatment described works extremely well for me.  It has also helped relieve
itching from multiple mosquito bites.  Its main drawback is that it is a HOME
remedy - not very helpful on the trail.

>From "Take Care of Yourself - A Consumer's Guide to Medical Care," by Donald
M. Vickery, M.D. and James F. Fries, M.D., Addison-Wesley, 1977 (7th printing).

p. 132, Poison Ivy and Oak:
     "Poison Ivy and Poison Oak need little introduction.  The itching skin
lesions which follow contact with these and other plants of the Rhus
family are the most common example of a larger category of skin problems
known as "contact dermatitis."  Contact dermatitis simply means that
something has been applied to the skin which has caused the skin to
react to it.  An initial exposure is necessary to "sensitize" the
patient; a subsequent exposure will result in an allergic reaction if
the plant oil remains in contact with the skin for several hours.  The
resulting rash begins after 12 to 48 hours delay and persists for about
two weeks.  Contact may be indirect, from pets, contaminated clothing,
or smoke from burning Phus plants.  It can occur during any season.

Home Treatment:
     There are many approaches to the treatment of poison ivy.  The best
is to avoid the plants, which are hazardous even in the winter when they
have dropped their leaves.  Next best is to remove the plant oil from
the skin as soon as possible.  If the oil has been on the skin for less
than six hours, thorough cleansing with strong soap, repeated three
times, will usually prevent reaction.
     Many physicians recommend cool compresses of Burrow's Solution
(Domeboro, Bur-Veen, Bluboro) or Aveeno Bath(one cup to a tub full of
water).  The old standby, calamine lotion, is sometimes of help in early
lesions, but may spread the plant oil which is causing the irritation in
the first place.  Be sure to cleanse the skin, as above, even if you are
too late to prevent the rash entirely.  Another useful method of
obtaining symptomatic relief is the use of a hot bath or hot shower.
Heat releases histamine, the substance in the cells of the skin which
causes the intense itching.  Therefore, a hot shower or bath will cause
intense itching as the histamine is released.  The heat is gradually
increased to the maximum tolerable and continued until the itching has
subsided.  This process will deplete the cells of histamine and the
patient will often obtain eight hours of relief from the itching.  This
method has the advantage of not requiring frequent application of
ointments to the lesions and is a good way to get some sleep at night.
Poison ivy or oak will persist for the same length of time despite the
medication.  If secondary bacterial infection occurs, healing will be
delayed; hence scratching is not helpful.  Cut the nails to avoid damage
to the skin through scratching."

Roni Burrows                    |        ThE        
aivab@asuvm.inre.asu.edu        |   uSuAL           
Arizona State University        |       DisCLAiMers
Chemical,Bio,&Mat'ls Engineering| aPplY 

Date: Fri, 4 Dec 92 12:47:28 -0800
From: Kristann Orton <stann@hpcvxjts.cv.hp.com>
Subject: Re: [l/m 4/15/92] Oak/Ivy		Distilled Wisdom (18/28) XYZ

I use a fabric soap called Fels Neptha (sp?) after exposure.  It was suggested
in a first aide class my mom took, and it works great for getting the
oils off your skin.


Date: Fri, 18 Jun 93 21:38:25 PDT
From: platt@synaptics.com (John Platt)
Subject: Poison Oak, accumulated wisdom

   I went to my dermatologist when I got some poison oak.. He said, 
"0.5% Hydrocortisone on Poison Oak is like trying to put out a forest
fire by pissing on it."

  Then, he gave me some halobetasol propionate (topical cream, by
prescription only)... Within a few hours, the itchiness went away and
stayed away with repeated application. No mind-altering systemic
steroids. He called this stuff the "tactical nuclear weapon" against
poison oak. I highly recommend it.


                   ^ A  
                s / \ r                
               m /   \ c              
              h /     \ h            
             t /       \ i          
            i /         \ t        
           r /           \ e      
          o /             \ c    
         g /               \ t  
        l /                 \ u
       A /                   \ r
        <_____________________> e   
                Language
 
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1993 19:42:40 -0500 (EST)
From: "Jerry M. Wright" <jmwright@helix.nih.gov>
Subject: Poison ivy

I'd like to add my $0.02 worth to the poison ivy lore.  I've come across 
some stuff called Tecnu and it has worked quite well both immediately 
after exposure and after appearance of a rash.  It is formulated to 
dissolve the ivy oils and allow you to rinse them off your skin.  Even 
after the rash has appeared, the oils remain causing further irritation 
and will spread.  One hiker this year came up with a really extensive rash
on her forearm at the end of the day.  We used the stuff and it stopped 
the rash from spreading and substantially reduced the itching.  A couple 
of other experiences with it have had similar results - just remember to 
follow the label directions.  I don't know the distribution area but I've 
seen the stuff in most drug stores in the DC area and the company is based
in Oregon.  (BTW the number for information on the product is 1-800-itching)
************************************************************
jmwright@helix.nih.gov

Sometimes it is necessary to grab the bull by the tail and face the 
situation.
************************************************************


Date: Fri, 19 Nov 93 13:06:09 PST
From: bdrake@cheshire.oxy.edu (Barry T. Drake)

  Tecnu says not to apply it to broken skin, which I did anyway when parts of
the skin near my wrists blistered and oozed.  The Tecnu dried the blisters up
immediately, and there is no scarring of the skin. 
  Tecnu's main ingredients are propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol, which
makes me wonder if anti-freeze wouldn't help if one were in a remote area (don't
some types of anti-freeze contain those chemicals?).
--Barry

From: Kevin Anthony Scaldeferri <coolhand@wam.umd.edu>

For on the trail treatment and prevention you can't beat
nature's own remedy, jewelweed.  It's almost always found
close to ivy, so it's usually availible when you need it.
Crush a few leaves and rub them on your skin, or crush
and soak in water for a larger amount.

Kevin Scaldeferri
coolhand@wam.umd.edu

Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 11:12:58 -0400 (EDT)
From: Larry London <london@SunSITE.Unc.EDU>
Subject: Re: [l/m 11/1/93] Oak/Ivy Distilled Wisdom (18/28) XYZ
To: "Eugene N. Miya" <eugene>


Newsgroups: rec.gardens
Subject: Posion Ivy- Everything You Wanted To  Know--
From: Ron Rushing <f_rushingrg@ccsvax.sfasu.edu>
Date: 21 May 94 21:23:02 CST
Lines: 454

I found this doccument in my files.  Its a compilation of several items
from here and there- Appolgies to any authors whos' names were
inadvertantly deleted--

===================================

Subject: Re: Poison Ivy, Oak, etc.
Date: 1 Jun 92 16:30:07 GMT

* Poison  Oak,  Poison  Ivy,  and Poison Sumac do pretty much the same
  thing  to you.  There is heated debate among botanists about whether
  Poison  Oak and Poison Ivy really the same species.  Poison Sumac is
  at least closely related.

* They  hurt  you through an oil that transfers to your skin, or which
  you can inhale from the fumes of the burning plant.  The oil doesn't
  wash  off  with  plain  water.   Ordinary soap usually doesn't do it
  either.   Some people claim to be immune to the irritation from this
  oil.   A  subset  of these have rolled around in Poison Ivy to prove
  it.  A subset of these have subsequently come down with severe cases
  of the rash.  It would be prudent to avoid Poison Ivy.

* The  best  thing  I've  found  to  deal with Poison Ivy is a product
  called "Technu Poison Oak and Ivy Cleanser" I found in the first-aid
  section  of  the drug store.  It's a liquid soap that can be used to
  try  and  wash  out  the  irritating  oil  before  or after the rash
  develops  (sooner  is  better).  One caution that isn't sufficiently
  emphasized  in  the  directions:   The  stuff  has a mild anesthetic
  effect.   This  makes  it possible to wash/scratch the affected area
  too  vigorously.   This  breaks  down  the  skin's  ability  to hold
  together.   The  effect  is  like  a  second-degree burn or the skin
  underneath  a  blister.   Very painful, and now you have to treat it
  like  a burn, with all the attendant danger of infection, etc.  Keep
  the washing with the Technu gentle, and you should have no problem.


Control:
--------

1.  The darn stuff grows roots all over the place, just like lots of
    ivy.  Each section seems to be able to grow without much help from
    the momma plant, once it gets going.  That means your ordinary
    weed killers won't have as much effect on it as you would like.
    So what if it dies here, it just keeps going over there, under
    those rocks.  We've used Roundup, and the long term effect seems
    to be that the ivy backs off, waits for everything else that the
    Roundup killed to decay, and then fills up the space vacated by
    its wimpy dead friends.  Other weed killers, the kind you wouldn't
    want to have around your horses, may do better.  We don't know.

2.  You can rip it out by the roots.  You'll need equipment and a
    method.  Put on old clothes and tall rubber boots.  Put on rubber
    gloves and coveralls.  Let your beard grow a few days if you can,
    too.  Wear a hat, preferably one that protects your ears.  Put
    leather garden gloves over the rubber gloves.  Rip the ivy out,
    being careful not to get it on your face.  DON'T scratch any
    itches, DON'T slap mosquitos, DON'T try to get that little black
    fly that's starting to munch on your eyeball.  Goggles or a
    beekeeper's bonnet might be helpful, you know.  Put all the ivy in
    a gubbidge bag in a gubbidge bucket, and tie it up.  Don't touch
    the bag again without gloves.

    To undress:  Take off the garden gloves and throw them away, or
    drop them right into the washer.  NOW WASH YOUR HANDS, that is,
    wash the rubber gloves.  With the rubber gloves still on, remove
    the coveralls and the boots.  The coveralls go right into the
    washer, along with your hat.  Wash the boots.  Remove the rest of
    your clothing, and put it all in the washer.  NOW WASH YOUR HANDS
    before you touch yourself -anywhere-.  Yes, especially -there-.
    Be careful where you step, too, so you don't walk in bare feet
    where you trod with ivy boots.  Take a shower or two.  Apply
    anti-histamine or cortisone ointment, or your other Favourite Cure
    if you discover, a day or two later, that you got some ivy on you
    anyway, in spite of the precautions.

    To wash the clothes: add Amway Tri-Zyme or some other good enzyme
    powder, and soak the clothes for an hour.  Then wash them.  Then
    wash them again.

3.  Goats eat poison ivy.  Keep goats, and they will eat your ivy,
    along with lots of other stuff. 

-------*--------

Here's what I've learned over the last few years from experience and
also from research at the local University Library. I've spent hours going
through dermatology journals reading up on this stuff. If anyone finds
mistakes
below, or has evidence to the contrary, feel free to post or e-mail me.
I'll try and keep this up-to-date.


ON THE RASH:

 * The irritant in poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak is urushiol.
   Urushiol is also found in the lacquer tree, but I doubt you have one
   of those.  The rash you get is an allergic reaction.  Everything I say
   below about poison ivy should also apply to poison oak and sumac.

 * If you brush up against a healthy undamaged plant, you won't usually
   get urushiol on you.  You usually have to come in contact with a damaged
   leaf.  Almost all plants have damaged leaves - either from insects,
   weather, or from your stepping on them.

 * The toxin exists in varying concentrations in the leaves, stems, and
   roots.  I have gotten a rash from all three, although the reaction I
   got from the roots was very minor.

 * The oil is easily transferred from one place to another.  For
   example, I got some on my shoelaces once, and I kept getting poison
   ivy on my hands for a couple of months before I figured out what was
   going on :-(. Once it is on your hands, it can, and will, end up
   anywhere on you body :-O . It is also common for it to be
   picked up on the hair of your dog or horse, and then repeatedly
   transferred to you.

 * Once you get the oil on clothing, it can sit for months and still cause
   a rash upon contact with your skin.  For example,lets say you get some
   poison ivy oil on your boots, then put the boots away for the winter.
   Next spring you get out the boots and go for a walk - but not in the woods.
   A few days later, voila - your hands are breaking out from putting on
   your boots and tying the laces.

 * The first time you in your life you're exposed to urushiol, you will
   not react to it.  In other words, you get one free pass.  After that,
   your body develops an allergic reaction, which is the rash you get from
   subsequent exposures.  The literature says it is possible to lose your
   allergic response if you are not exposed for a long period of time, like
   10 years or more.  So, if you haven't gotten poison ivy in 10 years, you
   may get another free pass.  There are a number of other chemical irritants
   (like trinitrochlorobenzene) that also cause this type of allergic response
   in your skin, but hopefully you'll never have to worry about them.

 * There is no known way to build up an immunity to the oil.  There is
   anecdotal evidence of people drinking teas made from poison ivy to try
   and build up an immunity.  They got sick and got rashes on their butts.

 * Not all humans are allergic to urushiol.  I think about 1 in 7  (or was
   it 1 in 15) are not allergic.  Native Americans (a.k.a. American Indians)
   tend to NOT be allergic.

 * If you think you've come into contact with poison ivy, throw everything
   in the wash when you get home.  Wash yourself with COLD WATER.  The
   oil is supposedly soluble in water.  If you use warm water, it will cause
   the pores in your skin to open up, enabling the oil to get deeper in
   your skin.

 * Tall socks and long pants are highly recommended when hiking through poison
   ivy.  In places where the ivy can grow tall, a long-sleeve shirt is also
   a good idea.

 * If you really want to hike in shorts in poison-ivy country, there is this
   goop you can put on your legs that will keep it off your skin.  I've used
   it before and didn't get a rash, but I don't know if I came into physical
   contact with poison ivy.  This goop is available at larger sporting-goods
   stores.

 * Interestingly, I've found that the best way to keep from getting
   poison ivy is to learn to recognize the plants.  After unsuccessfully
   spraying it for years (it's everywhere on our property), I can spot it
   at 100 ft.  I used to get a rash every year - sometimes 2 or three
   times in a summer.  This was simply because I didn't notice where I was
   walking or sitting.  I spend more time in our woods than ever, now, and
   I haven't picked up poison ivy in 2 years.  This co-existence works fine
   for me, but not always as well for unescorted visitors :-(. There can be
   substantial variation between plants, so learn to recognize all the
   variants of leaf formation, etc.

 * If you get a rash, you pretty much have to wait it out.  However, you
   CAN treat the symptons - namely itching.  I've found hydrocortizone
   cream to work well at reducing the itch.  I believe The FDA has recently
   increased the non-prescription strength from .5% to 1%, so make sure
   you get the stronger stuff.  If it's really bad, see your doctor. Although
   it's unlikely, you want to make sure any complications are treated
   quickly.  This is more likely to happen if you are exposed over a very
   large part of your body.

 * Each person reacts a little differently, but on me, it takes 1.5-2 days
   after exposure to notice an itch, and 2-3 weeks before the blisters have
   gone away.

 * As long as you've washed the original oil off your skin, the puss from the
   blisters should not re-infect your skin.  It's just puss, and does not
   contain urushiol.


ON GETTING RID OF THE PLANTS:

 * If you only have a small number of plants, you can physically remove them,
   but BE CAREFUL.  Use rubber gloves, and put the plants and the gloves
   in a plastic bag when done.  Wash ANYTHING that touches the plants in
   cold water.

 * I've had no success with 2,4-D.  Although the packaging says it's
   indicated for poison ivy, I've found that the leaves just turn brown and
   fall off, and then come right back.  Even after 2 or 3 applications,
   the plants keep coming back.

 * Roundup (or one of the cheaper equivalents) works much better, but you'll
   need 2 applications, 4-6 weeks apart.

 * If you do go the chemical route, I suggest getting a dye from your
   local nursery and mixing it with the Roundup so you can see where you've
   sprayed.  They call it a marker, since it 'marks' where you've sprayed.
   There are other types of markers, including foams, but I've had better
   luck with dyes.  The kind I use is dark blue, and disappears within a
   day of use.  I've usually been able to get away with 1/2 the recommended
   dose - your milage may vary.  The advantages are that you can verify
   hitting all the leaves, but you don't end up re-spraying stuff you've
   already hit.  The end result is better kill, less cost (because you use
   less Roundup), and less damage to the environment.

 * Even if you think you've killed all the plants, expect some to come back
   from the roots next year.

 * NEVER, NEVER, NEVER burn poison ivy.  The oil can be carried up with the
   smoke, and can be VERY nasty if inhaled.


Andy Goris


>* The  best  thing  I've  found  to  deal with Poison Ivy is a product
>  called "Technu Poison Oak and Ivy Cleanser" I found in the first-aid
>  section  of  the drug store.  It's a liquid soap that can be used to
>  try  and  wash  out  the  irritating  oil  before  or after the rash
>  develops  (sooner  is  better).  One caution that isn't sufficiently
>  emphasized  in  the  directions:   The  stuff  has a mild anesthetic
>  effect.   This  makes  it possible to wash/scratch the affected area
>  too  vigorously.   This  breaks  down  the  skin's  ability  to hold
>  together.   The  effect  is  like  a  second-degree burn or the skin
>  underneath  a  blister.   Very painful, and now you have to treat it
>  like  a burn, with all the attendant danger of infection, etc.  Keep
>  the washing with the Technu gentle, and you should have no problem.
>                                - PauL Drews

Actually, the best thing to use is ethanol.  Probably cheaper than
the above product, anyway. Ethanol acts as a solvent for the toxin
found in poison ivy (Toxicodendrol, I believe).


there's a blurb in the latest  Business  Week  on  the  University  of
Mississippi, in that they have figured out more about what Poison  Ivy
does to you - and have some level of immunization shot. one  per  year
is what they mentioned in the article. it's the Business Week with the
cover about women in industry.

They've actually had the immunization for several years.  Last I knew
there was one problem.  You need to make sure you get the shot
EARLY in the year, *BEFORE* poison ivy is up and growing.  Encountering
poison ivy shortly after the shot can cause an *Extremely* nasty case
of the stuff...


>From an upcoming medical journal article.

Toxicodendron species (Poison Oak, Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac)
Anacardiaceae (Cashew or Sumac family).  The genus contains
approximately 15 species found in eastern Asia, North and South America.
 The literature contains considerable nomenclatural controversy and
confusion, and most early works place ~Poison Oak,~ ~Poison Ivy~ and
~Poison Sumac~ in the genus Rhus.  In addition, medical literature
usually persists in referring to the toxic effects of these plants as
Rhus dermatitis.  Recent taxonomic studies place these toxic plants of
the Anacardiaceae in the genus Toxicodendron, while the genus Rhus
contains nontoxic plants.
Toxicodendron is generally known by the public as the most villainous
plant for its ability to produce contact dermatitis.  Although the
consequences of Toxicodendron exposure are usually well-known, most
individuals are unable to identify this genus, which is generally
characterized by shiny trofoliate (three-leaflet) leaves (Toxicodendron
vernix has 7 - 13 leaflets.)  The plant~s ability to grow either as a
shrub or as a woody opportunistic vine that commonly climbs trees and
fences confuses the identification process.  Yet more confusion persists
because of the public~s use of common names.  The most important toxic
species, Toxicodendron diversilobum (T. & G.) Greene (Poison Oak),
Toxicodendron radicans (L.) O. Kuntze (Poison Ivy) and Toxicodendron
vernix (L.) O. Kuntze (Poison Sumac), are clear and distinct species,
although they are often lumped together under the common name ~Poison
Ivy.~  Both climbing and shrub-like forms of T. radicans are common
throughout eastern North America, with similar growth forms of T.
diversilobum confined to the coast of western North America.
Toxicodendron vernix is confined to bogs and cooler areas of eastern
North America.  The effects of dermal exposure for the three species are
similar.  Depending upon the degree of sensitization, a pruritic
erythematous and vesicular rash will develop within hours or days and
may persist for up to 10 days.  A linear rash distribution is
particularly suggestive of Toxicodendron dermatitis.  The treatment is
largely symptomatic therapy focused on amelioration of the symptoms.
Little or nothing can be done to arrest the process once the exposure
has occurred.  The value of scrubbing the affected area with soap and
water will have no value unless instituted within minutes of the
exposure.  The entire plant, except the pollen, is toxic throughout the
year, even during the winter months when the branches and stems are
leafless.
Urushiol, a nonvolatile phenolic allergen that acts as a powerful
hapten, is contained within the plant~s resin canals and is released
when the tissues are injured.  Urushiol has as its dermatitis-producing
principle pentadecylacatechol.  It is estimated that 70% of the United
States population would acquire Toxicodendron  dermatitis on casual
exposure to one of the three species mentioned above.  Individuals
sensitive to Toxicodendron species may exhibit cross reactions to
Japanese lacquer, cashew nut trees, or mango.  Contact with these or
other genera in the Anacardiaceae should be avoided.  The ingestion of
Toxicodendron or herbal remedies that contain it can produce life
threatening gastroenteritis.  Even dermal exposure or inhalation of
smoke from burning plant debris containing Toxicodendron can produce
severe toxicity.  It is a common misconception that the fluid from skin
vesicles can spread the rash to other body parts or to other
individuals.  Medicinally, Toxicodendron has been used to cure eczema
and shingles as well as ringworm.  The sap, which turns black when
exposed to air, was one of the few natural sources of black lacquer dye
before the introduction of synthetic dyes.

--------*--------

Speaking of folk medicine, medicinal uses of plants...I am not a biology
major but have had an interest in this area for some time.
Why is it that only one person, James Duke of Dept of Agri., has made
a major effort to compile comprehensive lists of medicinal plants uses?
Is it possible that modern American medicine has assumptions that run
contrary to even the examination of historical and folk use?
At the least, by now, I would hope for a large d-base perhaps a CD ROM
of thousands of medicinally used plants both in U.S. and abroad, something
easily accessible for public search, such as Med Line.
Especially as world and American species are being eliminated so quickly.

---------*--------

Here's a "preventative" method for the skin...

If you think you have been exposed, wash with hot water (as hot as you can
tolerate) and Fels Naptha soap.  The soap is horrible on the skin, but it
has something which breaks up the oil of the poison.  Also, wash the
clothes in hot water immediately.  The rash from poison ivy can take up to
72 hours to appear after exposure, and is often spread on the body by
taking showers while the oils are still on the skin.

(The oils often stay on your hands, on the palms in the creases.
You usually don't get poison on the palms because the skin is so tough,
but you spread it everywhere just by touching.)

--------*--------

How to recognize PI/PS/PO:

POISON IVY (Toxicodendron radicans = Rhus radicans = Rhus toxicodendron)
Found in a wide range of habitats, but in the midwest often seen in
disturbed woods, roadsides, and flood plains.  Most widespread of PI,
PS, and PO.

Small, slightly woody plant, or shrubby, or vining.   LEAVES ALTERNATE
(= 1 leaf per node), TRIFOLIOLATE (=3 leaflets), with pedicel (leafstalk)
and the CENTRAL LEAFLET WITH PETIOLULE (=leaflet stalk).  The lateral
two leaflets are not distinctly stalked.  Leaflets are a variety of
shapes,
but generally ovate or obovate (roughly apple-leaf shaped).  Leaflets may
be
smooth-edged (entire), irregularly toothed, or shallowly lobed.  Leaves of
one variant form looking like small oak-leaves (but look again!). Leaves
apple-green and shiny in the spring, deep green and often dusty in the
summer, turning a glorious reddish orange in the fall.  Flowers
tiny, whitish, in clusters; fruits white berries in late summer or fall.

Closest look-alike:  Box-elder seedlings (Acer negundo), which has
OPPOSITE,
trifoliolate leaves; the lateral two leaflets are often slightly stalked.
Older box-elders generally have 5 leaflets per leaf.


POISON SUMAC (Toxicodendron vernix = Rhus vernix)   Shrub, to perhaps
15-20
ft tall, often branched from the base.  LEAVES ALTERNATE WITH 7-13
LEAFLETS,
lateral leaflets without a petiolule (leaflet stalk), TERMINAL LEAFLET
WITH A STALK.  MIDRIB OF THE LEAF WITHOUT A PAIR OF WINGS OF TISSUE THAT
RUN BETWEEN LEAFLET PAIRS.  More small, whitish berries in a long cluster.
Usually in wetlands, Maine to Minnesota, south to Texas and Florida.

Closest look-alikes: Staghorn sumac, Rhus typhina, which has clusters of
fuzzy, red fruits and toothed leaflets, and likes dry soils; Smooth sumac,
Rhus glabra, with bright red fruits and slightly toothed leaves; much
drier
soil than PS.


POISON OAK: (Toxicodendron diversiloba = Rhus diversiloba).   Reputedly
the
worst of the bunch.  Erect shrub, usually about 3-6ft tall (to 12 ft!),
bushy,
with ALTERNATE LEAVES OF THREE LEAFLETS, the LEAFLETS generally lobed
slightly
or as much as an oak leaf; CENTRAL LEAFLET STALKED.  Leaves generally
bright, shiny green above, paler below.  Fruits are small whitish berries.
Common on the west coast, esp. low places, thickets and wooded slopes.
Occasionally a 5-leafleted form is found.

Kay Klier    Biology Dept  UNI

==================================
Ron Rushing
Technology Coordinator
Stephen F. Austin State University
Nacogdoches, TX
f_rushingrg@ccsvax.sfasu.edu
Disclaimer: "Its alright-- Its only me"


Newsgroups: rec.gardens
Subject: Re: Poison ivy
From: Ron Rushing <f_rushingrg@ccsvax.sfasu.edu>
Date: 21 May 94 21:15:12 CST

===========

Poison Ivy
 
Contact with poison ivy can leave you with a rash and persistent
itch.  This native perennial grows throughout Virginia, in woods,
fields, and sometimes in the garden.  It grows in sun or shade,
and in wet or dry places.  Its growth habit depends on where it
is growing, resulting in a trailing ground cover, free-standing
shrub, or a vine supported by trees, shrubbery and fences.
 
All parts of the poison ivy plant contain an oil, urushiol, which
causes the allergic reaction.  Most poisoning occur during the
growing season when the presence of lush foliage increases the
chance of contact, but the dormant stems and roots of the vine
can cause winter poisoning as well.  Individuals vary in their
sensitivity to poison ivy, but repeated exposure can lead to
increased sensitivity.  It would be a good idea for everyone to
avoid this plant.
 
Poison ivy appears in many forms.  The leaflets vary in size,
glossiness, and marginal notching, but always occur in groups of
three.  If you avoid all unknown plants with leaves composed of
three leaflets, you will be playing it safe.
 
Poison ivy is difficult but not impossible to eradicate.  The
chief difficulty lies in the chances of becoming poisoned when
trying to remove it.  Wear protective clothing, including gloves,
whenever you are working near it.  Pulling and grubbing are
effective means of removal, though they necessitate close contact
and will probably need to be repeated once or twice for complete
control.  If time is not an object, the vines can be smothered by
completely covering them with black plastic for several months.
Do not mow the plants as this will spew bits and pieces of
poisonous material over the area.  When removing poison ivy, take
frequent breaks to change clothes and scrub thoroughly with a
strong soap.  Wash contaminated clothing separately.  DO NOT BURN
any plants that you physically remove.  The resulting smoke can
cause severe lung damage if inhaled.
 
Herbicides are effective and allow you to control the plant
without getting too close to it.  Several commercial products are
available.  Check labels to find one that will control poison
ivy, and apply it as directed.  Many of the herbicides for poison
ivy control contain glyphosate.  This chemical is systemic.  It
is absorbed by leaves and transferred to stems and roots, and
slowly causes the death of the entire plant.  It must be applied
to an actively growing plant for this process to take place; do
not apply it during a drought when even poison ivy will not be
growing.  Glyphosate, like most herbicides labelled for poison
ivy removal, is nonselective and will kill any other plants it
contacts.
 
Where poison ivy has grown up tree trunks or into hedges, cut the
vine at ground level.  Remove as much of the stump and roots as
you can with a hoe or by pulling.  As regrowth occurs, apply an
herbicide to the leaves, or keep pulling up the growth.  With
perseverance, and probably of few itches, poison ivy can be
controlled.
 
 ================

Ron Rushing
Technology Coordinator
Stephen F. Austin State University
Nacogdoches, TX
f_rushingrg@ccsvax.sfasu.edu
Disclaimer: "Its alright-- Its only me"


From: london@sunSITE.unc.edu (Larry London) Newsgroups: alt.med.allergy Subject: Treatment for poison ivy outbreaks. Date: 21 May 1994 16:25:20 GMT Keywords: jewelweed, aloe vera, goldenseal, comfrey, plantain leaves - Combinations of the following herbal remedies could be tried: Apply to the lesions, more or less in this order: 1) squeeze juice of fresh jewelweed plants onto lesions and reserve remains of plants for application as a compress [this will help reduce itching - the other herbs listed here may also help with this] 2) squeeze juice of aloe vera onto lesions and reserve remains of plants for compress; promotes healing 3) liberally dust powdered goldenseal on top of the above plant juices before they dry onto the lesions; this will promote rapid healing 4) take a wooden meat maul and mash leaves and stems of the following plants: comfrey plantain leaves the remains of the jewelweed and aloe plants juiced in previous procedure form the resulting masses into a poultice or compress and apply it on top of the goldenseal on the lesions hold poultice in place with a bandage of some sort, if possible. After four hours or so remove poultice and clean the lesions with water. - Repeat this entire procedure every four hours as needed until itching is reduced and lesions begin to heal. - Other remedies: Cortisone (some OTC, some prescription) Witch Hazel -=*=- london@sunSITE.unc.edu - Miscelellaneous treatment information: - Newsgroups: rec.backcountry From: Greg Smith <greg.n.smith@daytonoh.ncr.com> Subject: Re: poison ivy! Date: Mon, 16 May 1994 13:22:01 GMT Agreed that water is good but please DON"T USE WARM WATER. Warm water will open the pores in your skin allowing the (poison ivy) oil to get in. Use cold water and soap. To give you an idea of how the oil behaves on your skin, consider what happened to me. On military exercise, I got into some poison ivy in an ugly way. I knew I had about 2 hours to do something or I would certainly die a horrible itchy death. I doused my arms in rubbing alcohol to remove the oil from my hands and arms. What I forgot to think about was that the disolved oil was running down my arms to my elbows where the alcohol was evaporating and redepositing now concentrated poison ivy oil. Within a day I had no skin on my elbows. No matter what you decide to do to, just remember that the oil has to be removed completely or neutralized in place. There is a product called Tecnu that works wonders. Telephone linemen swear by it. BTW: I think calamine lotion is worthless. Greg Smith AT&T Global Information Solutions greg.n.smith@DaytonOH.ncr.com Opinions expressed don't necessarily reflect the views or policies of AT&T Newsgroups: rec.backcountry From: rperkins@bnr.ca (Robert M. Perkins) Subject: Re: poison ivy! Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 21:13:23 GMT I have a great case on my lower legs right now, and have been very allergic since age 7 (crawled into a poison sumac bush wearing swimming trunks. The stuff covered 80% of my body.) I've tried various steroid creams: 1% hydrocortisone works okay. .5% is useless. "Triamcinalone" steroid cream works better- prescription. "Hydroxine HCL 25mg" - prescription- three times a day cuts the itching but makes you woozy, esp.if you drink a beer. Don't know if it is an antihistamine. Anyone out there know? Max strength sinutab has acetaminophen analgesic, pseudoephedrine (sudafed?) decongestant, and chlorpheniramine maleate antihistamine. The anithistamine and analgesic make me feel better, though tired. Any antihistamine should do something to cut the itching. And, wackiest symptom reliever of all: Fill the tub w/ cool water. add 1/2 chlorine bleach, 4 tablespoons salt. soak for 10 minutes. seems to help. Came upon this after having symptoms relieved after swimming in the ocean or in a swimming pool. calamine lotion dries it out just a little. 95% useless. i keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol in my car *usually* in case i think i've been exposed. Rob Perkins Internet rperkins@bnr.ca ESN 294-7632 Commercial 919-991-7632 AIN/SSP Development, Dept 3C38 Bell Northern Research, 35 Davis Drive, RTP, NC 27709 The opinions I opine are purely mine; BNR doesn't share them. From: tamada@cheshire.oxy.edu (Michael K. Tamada) Newsgroups: rec.backcountry Subject: Re: poison ivy! Date: 17 May 1994 13:49:50 -0700 I react strongly to poison oak. So strongly that I had to go to a doctor last time. I eventually saw an allergist who gave me a copy of a pamphlet (I don't know who printed it) which advised the following: Rinse as soon as possible (everyone agrees on this). Use a LOT of COLD water. Be aware that this water is simply spreading the oil around; the idea is to use enough water to have it spread off you entirely. As someone else mentioned, hot water opens the pores and allows more oil to get in. The pamphlet didn't mention soap one way or the other; possibly it was referring to people caught in the field who didn't have access to soap. The doctor said that to use a little water was probably worse than to do nothing at all, because it would simply spread the oil over more of your skin. --Mike Tamada Occidental College tamada@oxy.edu Newsgroups: rec.backcountry From: hlindaue@harp.aix.calpoly.edu (Hans Fredrick Lindauer) Subject: Re: poison ivy! (Poison Oak) Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 00:19:52 GMT I used to just wait until I was finished hiking, and then use Tecnu, and shower off. [text deleted] prescribe some Prednisone and Atarax, [text deleted] The one good thing about all of this is that I found out (too late, of course!) that Tecnu also makes a product called Armor, which you put on before exposure, and which prevents the oils from soaking into your skin. I bought two bottles. The doctor yesterday told me to carry alcohol and some paper towels, so that if I get exposed, I can immediately wipe off any oils. Hans Lindauer hlindaue@flute Newsgroups: rec.backcountry From: robert.samuelsen@daytonOH.ncr.com (Rob Samuelsen) Subject: Re: poison ivy! Keywords: jewelweed Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 14:03:02 GMT The native americans used Jewelweed. They would smash it into a pulp and spread the pulp over the affected area. Jewelweed is usually found in moist, shaded areas and is identified by it's waxy leaves. After a rain or heavy dew, water beads up on the waxy leaves and looks like jewels. Rob Samuelsen AT&T Global Information Solutions (Formerly NCR Corporation) Platform Solution Services Development Professional Services Division Phone......(513)445-1256 FAX.......(513)445-7196 E-mail... Robert.Samuelsen@DaytonOH.NCR.COM Expressed opinions don't necessarily reflect those of AT&T. Newsgroups: alt.med.allergy From: carveb@netcom.com (Robert D Carver) Subject: Poison Oak/Ivy Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 15:56:29 GMT I picked up a product recently that is supposed to alliviate symptoms of poison oak, ivy, sumac. I haven't needed it yet so i can not verify it works. It's called "Easy Ivy". It's made by Bethrum Reasearch and Development and their address is P.O. Box 3436 Galveston, TX 77552. Has anyone out there tried this stuff? -- carveb@netcom.com Bob Carver Dallas, TX From: vikikirk@bronze.coil.com (Viki Kirk) Newsgroups: rec.gardens Subject: Re: Herbal treatment of poison ivy rashes. Date: 25 May 1994 07:06:28 -0400 I spent a night in a poison ivy patch with ten others who are also sensitive to poison ivy. I was on an Outward Bound trip in the NC mountains. We had been hiking mountainous terrain until well into the the night when we came upon a nice flat camp spot -- unfortunately infested with the stuff. Our leaders told us to rub the juice from a fibrous plant on our skin -- Jewel Weed. Luckily there was plenty of it. Not one of us got a rash from the poison ivy! Viki Article 33840 of rec.gardens: From: nedehn@artsci.wustl.edu (Natasha Elizabeth Dehn) Newsgroups: rec.gardens Subject: Re.Poison Ivy Regarding reactions and treatment: Not everyone is lucky enough to get off with a rash. A serious exposure or strong sensitivity will produce flu-like symptoms--fever, achyness, etc.. It's possible to be sick as a dog for more than a month--believe me, I know!! I also developed additional spontaneous rashes on unexposed portions of my body, weeks after the initial outbreak--my immune system had developed a hair-trigger sensitivity. I was told some of this might have been prevented had they started oral steroids immediately (another thing to note--not every site of exposure will show up at once--and I'm not talking about secondary exposure from touching oneself, though I got that too--all over my neck and face! But it was more than a week before all the streaks of blisters appeared on my legs, which had clearly brushed up against the plant). In my case the situation is now clear. But for all of you as-yet-unexposed people out there--should you ever be so unlucky as to meet the dreaded plant, be aware that stronger reactions are possible and stronger treatment is available. Don't be shy about going to see your doctor--just 'cause the books don't usually mention it doesn't mean you're imagining your illness :) --Natasha Article 33932 of rec.gardens: Newsgroups: rec.gardens From: scd@atria.com (Steve Daukas) Subject: Re: poison ivy (help! help!) I am currently working on killing my bumper crop of PI. I am using Orthro Brush-be-gone. The first application has had dramatic effects! I'm expecting to give one more application (I mix the product in a 6oz/24oz ratio in a small spray bottle and then spray it on the leaves). You can remove the vines by hand and then use the chemicals on the "stump" of the vine, but this means rubber gloves et. al. and disposal of the unwanted vines. Now, whatever you do, DO NOT burn PI (or anything similar). Contrary to other posts, you do not need to be sensitive to PI to have a severe reaction to the smoke. Inhaled allergens are usually nothing to worry about and usually do not cause a reaction, however PI smoke is no longer an allergen by normal definitions. It is VERY easy to develop analphalyxis when you breath this in. Death can ensue in 10 to 30 minutes if you breath enough of it and you are very young/old or have a medical history of asthma or allergies. Also, breathing this in will almost certainly cause you to develop a hypersensitivity to PI and other similar plants that will stay with you the rest of your life. From jriedl@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu Thu May 25 14:57:11 1995 Date: Thu, 25 May 1995 17:57:58 -0500 From: jriedl@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Dan Riedl) Subject: poison ivy I read your page on the WWW and found it to be very helpful. I am a boy scout in Mansfield, Ohio and have spent over 200 nights out camping in the past four years. I have gotten more cases of poison ivy than I can count. I have tried many different remidies and I have a few suggestions for your page. The brand-name, topical spray, called Rhuli Spray seems to stop the itching temporarily to a degree. I have found a natural remedy that works even better. I am not sure how proficient the plant is in other parts of the country but jewel weed is definately a jewel when it comes to stopping the itch of poison ivy, or even stinging nettles, in the woods. It is found in abundance in the mid-west and can easily be indetified by it's large, fragile, light green stalks, that are very moist inside when crushed, and it's small leaves that can be found in a plant book. One large plant can be crushed and rubbed on a large patch of poison ivy rash. It causes quick relief from the itching and seems to help dry up the rash. Many people seem to know the plant by it's seeds -In the fall jewel weed flowers, the flowers soon change to pods which resemble very small pea pods, bieng only an inch in length. When the pods are ripe they will pop open at the slighest touch and fling out tiny green or brown seeds. The seeds are edible and taste pretty good, though they hardly make a meal. Another remedy I have tried is poison ivy extract. The poison ivy is in the form of small sugar pills that are sucked on like candy. The idea is simple, if you take small doses of poison ivy over a large time period, you will build up an immunity to the plant. It also claims to be able to clear up poison ivy rashes, but I have seen no effect to back this claim up. It is hard to tell if the poroduct really works, but my friends and I have found that we don't seem to get poison ivy if we take it loyally for most of the year. The directions call for you to take it twice a day for a week, every month and those of us who remembered to take it, we found that we had much less trouble with poison ivy than those of us who forgot. Dan Riedl 745 Clifton Blvd. Mansfield, Ohio 44907 phone: (419)-756-7596 email:jriedl@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu gopher://wiscinfo.wisc.edu:2070/11/.image/.bot/Trees_and_Shrubs/Reference_images/Toxicodendron_radicans From: isaac@CS.McGill.CA (Isaac Adams MURCHIE) Date: Sun, 21 Jan 1996 06:22:23 -0500 Subject: Re: [l/m 8/2/95] Oak/Ivy Distilled Wisdom (18/28) XYZ hello mr eugene, this is just a small note about your introduction to the distilled wisdom post on poinson oak/ivy/sumac. while previously they had been considered to be part of _Rhus_ they are now held to be more closely related to each other than to the other sumacs. as such they have (by miller) been placed in a separate genus, _Toxicodendron_. the main reason for this change is differences in flower/fruit morphology between the two genera. thanks, isaac. http://www.derm-infonet.com/comm/Nov95/terezakis.html http:/www.derm-infonet.com/PoisonIvy.html http://www.family.internet.com/peds/scr/000027sc.htm#FIRST AID: http:/www.harvardpilgrim.org Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 21:36:00 -0700 From: dgrigsby@asymtek.com (David Grigsby) Subject: Poison Oak Hi Eugene, I don't know if you're still interested in Poison Oak info, but... I am just now recovering from a fairly massive case of Poison Oak. This is Day 9 after exposure, which was in the Los Padres National Forest. I ended up with solidly covered, draining regions on a leg and a forearm, patches all over, and one hand was so bubbly that it looked like it could only have come out of a special effects studio. I even had bumps on the palm of the hand, which is amazing. Anyway, I just wanted to respond/confirm some of the things I saw listed at www.nitehawk.dk/CarlsenRanch/hiking/p_oak.htm. I tried the scalding water approach a few years ago and lost about a 4x4 inch patch of skin revealing who-knows-what underneath - not recommended. Caladryl is fair for drying but not for much else. A product called "Sarna" is very good for itching. Oatmeal baths were relaxing before bed too, but Sarna really addressed the itching, roughly for about an hour at a time. On Day 2 after exposure I was prescribed Prednisone pills. The dosage was supposed to be 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 mg on successive days. This regimen seemed to have no effect - my symptoms continued to get far worse during this time. On Day 7 I went back to the doctor and got an injection of some other steroid, I don't know the name. I had noticeable improvement in about 5 hours. This is the second time that getting a shot did the trick. The doctor said that the pills should have been just as effective, but that is not what I experienced. I noticed no behavioral anomalies - but that's just my opinion! As far as preventive measures, I've seen reference to two "new" products on the web: Stokogard and IvyBlock. I have no information on whether they work. Dave Grigsby Encinitas, CA. Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 13:09:40 -0400 (EDT) From: George Lenz <grlen@mdc.net> Message-Id: <199709241709.NAA27104@netway1.mdc.net> Subject: Poison Oak and Ivy I found a "natural" herbicide against poison ivy in "Mary Ellen's Best of helpfu l hints" (published by Warner/B. Lansky Books, c. 1979) which effectively and ec onomically eliminates poison ivy plants. You make a solution of 3 pounds of salt and 2 gallons of soapy water and spray t he plants with it. You have to give them a couple of applications, but it works. We used it for areas where we wouldn't have salt run-off onto the lawn. In areas adjacent to the lawn we used Round-up and felt the soap-salt solution was probably more effective. Both solutions neded two appications. Also we used water-softener salt rather than table salt because we had a large area to do and it was significantly cheaper to use. Not having a sprayer we applied it rather spa ringly with a sprinkling can which is really easy to do. Trish (grlen@mdc.net) Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 21:36:32 -0700 From: "R. Scott Truesdell" <truesdel@abominable.ics.uci.edu> To: "Eugene N. Miya" <eugene> Subject: Re: [l/m 1/9/98] Oak/Ivy Distilled Wisdom (18/28) XYZ References: <6rbrhm$bk6$1@sun500.nas.nasa.gov> Organization: Information & Computer Science, U. C. Irvine Message-ID: <9808182136.aa14627@paris.ics.uci.edu> I just read the poison oak/ivy FAQ for the first time in a long time and thought I'd throw in my $.02. This turned out to be WAY too long. Sorry. I have grown up around poison oak ever since I was 2 years old, when we moved to Sierra Madre, CA, in the foothills of the Angeles National Forest. There was (still is) rampant poison oak just a block from every home I've lived at for the last 45 years. In college, we had plenty of the stuff right in our yard. I get poison oak bad! Not as bad as some I've seen, but I have been swolen up over major portions of my body at times. I am fair and have moderately sensative skin. I hate it with a passion and have developed an industrial attitude towards it. It took me 35 years until I learned to deal with poison oak effectively. Here's what I do: Preexposure Precautions ----------------------- If I know I am going to be around it, I try to put on "Armor", which is a barrier cream put out by the same folks that make the Tecnu soap. Available at REI. It's not terribly offensive stuff; I call its scent "minty;" not at all unpleasant. The girlfriend and I have gone 'round 'n' 'round about the proper application sequence in environments with multiple skin hostilities: Sun, Insects, Poison Oak. Here's what *I* do. I don't know if it's correct, but it seems to work pretty well. 1. Shower well. 2. Apply Armor to clean dry skin. 3. Apply Sun Block. 4. Apply Insect Repellant. (still using UltraThon. Seems to last longest. Anything better out there?) Reapply sunblock and Ultrathon as needed. I hate putting on creams and such, but I am not stupid and I know if I don't use sunblock and the other stuff, I WILL PAY the penalty. I HAVE paid the penalty. I use goop. 'nuff said. Post Exposure Recovery ---------------------- Others have detailed the undressing sequence sufficiently. It's not as important to stick with a precise sequence as it is to be aware of what you are doing, what you are touching, what will be your final procedure after you have been through DeCon (decontamination.) Undressing directly into the washing machine (or a plastic bag (then double-bag) for deferred washing) minimizes subsequent contact. Be careful of dragging clothing across those sensative areas as you undress. Contamination there is NOT FUNNY. I use a stiff scrub brush and liquid dishwashing detergent in a cold water shower. It is the full-on Silkwood routine. I scrub until my skin is pink. I go for as complete exfoliation as possible. It is not comfortable. It stings. It would be extremely difficult to wash a child this way. I even do my face. When I come out of the shower I am glowing pink and VERY clean. Notes on DeCon -------------- On the occasions I have not done a thorough scrub job, I have had subsequent breakouts in a long thin shape tapered at both ends. This shape suggests to me that I simply missed an overlapping scrub stroke. Imagine scrubbing yourself with a brush using back-and-forth overlapping strokes over your entire body and visualize the shape of a missed area maybe 1/2" wide. That's what it looks like. This, to me, is further evidence of the effectiveness of the severe cold-water/detergent/brush DeCon; when I miss a spot, that is the only place I break out. Tecnu is fine but expensive. Fels Naptha may be fine too, but often time you may need to DeCon when neither of these is available. I have had complete and repeated success with straight dishwashing liquid detergent. Cheap and nearly always available. Scrub EVERYwhere. Ears (ouch!) Ankles. Palms. Weener (ouch!) Butt. Face. EVERYwhere. Scrub hard and ruthlessly. Go for pink skin. This is NOT a comfortable shower. In fact, it's miserable. But nowhere near as miserable as the two weeks of festering hell you are mitigating. And, actually, when you are done and towelling off, you will feel great! Your skin feels great after it is cleaned that well. Now that I've discovered the Silkwood DeCon, I am much less obsessed with the barrier creams. These decontamination techniques work well enough that I only worry about barriers if I KNOW I am going to be exposed and will be hot and sweaty. Topical Relief -------------- I've tried a lot of remedies including, as a teenager, a massive injection of cortizone (I passed out!) It helped, I guess. None of the creams/lotions/salves/balms or other remedies -- proprietary or home-brew -- were worth the trouble. Cool water in a spray bottle worked as good as most, which is not very much at all. The best "store-boughten" relief has been with counter-irritants such as is used to relieve muscle strains. But even these don't works as well as the one free eight-hour relief: the hot HOT shower. I am sold 100% on the hot shower. I don't know or care about the physiology of why it works; it just does. I discovered it by accident while showering in the morning. I had a medium-sized breakout and had been applying any and all substances in the house (straight isopropanol is my universal toiletry of choice) and was experiencing the same old not-very-soothing results. As I was finishing up the shower that morning I noticed that the water was hotter than usual and that it caused a peculiar sensation as it contacted the poison oak areas--not exactly pleasant, but not unpleasant either. It seemed to AMPLIFY the itching past the threshold of sensation. It itched so intensely that it was no longer percieved as an itch and proceeded to blend with the burn of the hot water. Then sensation pretty much stopped altogether. I tried it on another affected patch with the same results. Then over some unaffected skin. Finally I gave in and sprayed every itchy patch with water as hot as I could bear. After a few seconds of very hot water I found I could turn up the temperature even higher. The result was that I was itch-free for the entire day. The itch returned gradually until I tried another hot shower in the middle of the evening. Itching stopped again and I slept like a baby. State of the Art ---------------- So now I have three means of dealing with poison oak that are inexpensive, practical, and effective. After half a lifetime of suffering, I am free of the tyrany of poison oak. * Prevent - Use a barrier cream ("Armor" is specifically for poison oak but I imagine industrial barriers would work fine.) * DeContamination - The Silkwood shower. At that point, your skin is your enemy; treat it that way. Scrub your skin right off. You will be very very glad. * Relief - Hot water, no doubt. With a thorough DeCon job, you should be left with very little, if any, break- outs. Spot treat them with the hot hot hot water for all-day relief. The water should be hot as you can bare, but not scalding. You should be able to stand under the spray of the shower. Hot but not scalding. Don't burn off your skin, for crissakes! Of course, your mileage may vary. Scott Truesdell From: Jerry M. Wright <Jerry.M.Wright@remove.verizon.net> Found it. http://kwc.org/mythbusters/2006/04/episode_50_bullets_fired_up_vo.html Using vodka to remove the oil and terminate the response. Doesn't work. That was the episode testing a bunch of vodka myths. What they didn't realize that if you have not previously been exposed to the oil, you get a one time free pass. You need a sensitizing dose first, after you are sensitized then the next exposure creates a reaction. I suspect the high rate of failure is an indication of their lifestyle. Whether or not you become sensitized is a stochastic process on the part of the immune system. It may take many exposures or it could be the first one that works. The fact you don't react this time is no warranty for the next time. From jwright@jhmi.edu Wed May 2 15:55:36 2007 Return-Path: <jwright@jhmi.edu> Received: from mailgw.soe.ucsc.edu (mailgw.cse.ucsc.edu [128.114.48.9]) by services.cse.ucsc.edu (8.13.6/8.13.1) with ESMTP id l42MtZRG004372 (version=TLSv1/SSLv3 cipher=DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA bits=256 verify=FAIL) for <eugene@soe.ucsc.edu>; Wed, 2 May 2007 15:55:36 -0700 (PDT) X-ASG-Debug-ID: 1178146533-3cd300510000-LHexPg X-Barracuda-URL: http://mailgw.cse.ucsc.edu:8000/cgi-bin/mark.cgi X-Barracuda-Connect: ipex2.johnshopkins.edu[162.129.8.151] X-Barracuda-Start-Time: 1178146533 X-Barracuda-Encrypted: RC4-SHA Received: from ipex2.johnshopkins.edu (ipex2.johnshopkins.edu [162.129.8.151]) (using TLSv1 with cipher RC4-SHA (128/128 bits)) (No client certificate requested) by mailgw.soe.ucsc.edu (Spam Firewall) with ESMTP id 35AC91973A6 for <eugene@soe.ucsc.edu>; Wed, 2 May 2007 15:55:33 -0700 (PDT) Received: from cfex.dhcp.bs.som.jhmi.edu (HELO WBG-MX.CFLABS.JHMI.EDU) ([162.129.32.13]) by ipex2.johnshopkins.edu with ESMTP; 02 May 2007 18:55:33 -0400 X-BrightmailFiltered: true X-Brightmail-Tracker: AAAAAA== X-IronPort-AV: i="4.14,482,1170651600"; d="scan'208"; a="268728328:sNHT25093636" Content-class: urn:content-classes:message MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" X-MIMEOLE: Produced By Microsoft Exchange V6.5 X-ASG-Orig-Subj: One more time Subject: One more time Date: Wed, 2 May 2007 18:55:30 -0400 Message-ID: <2D8C4B29EB28CA42BAE3D8C97B686A39655BA0@WBG-MX.CFLABS.JHMI.EDU> X-MS-Has-Attach: X-MS-TNEF-Correlator: Thread-Topic: One more time Thread-Index: AceNDPnk29ppe+PmSAivMhTe5ZPPuA== From: "Jerry M. Wright" <jwright@jhmi.edu> To: <eugene@soe.ucsc.edu> X-Barracuda-Virus-Scanned: by Barracuda Spam Firewall at soe.ucsc.edu X-Barracuda-Spam-Score: 0.00 X-Barracuda-Spam-Status: No, SCORE=0.00 using global scores of TAG_LEVEL=3.5 QUARANTINE_LEVEL=5.0 KILL_LEVEL=9.0 tests= X-Barracuda-Spam-Report: Code version 3.1, rules version 3.1.15881 Rule breakdown below pts rule name description ---- ---------------------- -------------------------------------------------- Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by services.cse.ucsc.edu id l42MtZRG004372 X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.0.1 (2004-10-22) on services.cse.ucsc.edu X-Spam-Level: X-Spam-Status: No, score=0.0 required=5.0 tests=none autolearn=unavailable version=3.0.1 Status: R Content-Length: 4932 The ivy reaction is created through a delayed process which leads to a very long and persistent reaction once symptoms appear. Knowing the mechanism of action is important in understanding how treatments work, which treatments are likely to be successful, when a treatment needs to be applied to have an effect and why they have limitations. Allergies are a set of diseases called hypersensitivity reactions. Basically, these are strong immune responses to substances which are normally harmless and not typically associated with disease causing pathogens. There are multiple types of allergic responses based on mechanism of action. Because the symptoms often have many similarities and all can result in death in extreme cases, the groups are blended into a single amorphous concept in the mind of the general public. Allergic reactions mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE) are short term responses typically appearing a few minutes after exposure, peaking in about 20 minutes and tapering off for an hour or so after that. This can trigger other immune pathways which lead to asthma attacks 8 to 12 hours later. IgE mediated reactions are sensitive to antihistamines and the reaction can be blocked by pretreatment. However, it is important to note that blocking the noticeable histamine sensitive portion of the response (sneezing, coughing, redness, itch, etc) does not block the other reactions that can lead to an asthma attack later. Leukotriene inhibitors are effective in blocking the asthma portion of the reaction. Hence preventive treatment for allergy sensitive asthma usually involves multiple medications. The poison ivy reaction is a type IV hypersensitivity response which is a delayed reaction mediated through T-cells. It is not IgE mediated and histamines are not involved; treating with antihistamines is futile. Nickel allergy, poison ivy reaction and the tuberculin skin test are all type IV reactions. The active ingredient of poison ivy is pentadecacatechol. Basically, the chemical has to enter a cell, be metabolized and modify other proteins within the cell. The modified proteins are then exported so they can be detected by the T-cell mediated portion of the immune system. The entire response consists of several steps, each of which takes several hours so the reaction usually takes 24 to 48 hours to fully develop. The site of reaction can progress over time to a chronic dermatitis with a persistent local destructive immune reaction. Urushiol is a mixture of pentadecacatechol and several other hydrocarbons found in ivy and other blistering plants. Because of the complex mixture of substances in the oil, there may be some immediate reaction to other compounds in addition to the delayed type IV response. The overall process can take quite a bit of time to convert and export the entire amount of oil deposited on the skin. The initial itch is just the tip; there's a lot more in the pipeline. Removing free oil at this point will reduce the subsequent response and permit rapid healing. Given the long time needed to process the oil, removal is likely to produce benefits even when done hours after the initial exposure. Ideally, oil removal followed by over the counter corticosteroid cream should work well if done shortly after exposure. By the time you get to an MD, it is way too late for cream based steroid applications. Systemic steroids are indicated if your reaction is severe. Tecnu and Zanfel remove the oils on the skin hence they work best shortly after exposure. Steroids, either topical or systemic, reduce the immune response. The relevant material in Janeway's Immunobiology and other medical textbooks is online through NCBI for those who wish to have all the details. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=Books Mythbusters: Using vodka to terminate the poison oak reaction. http://kwc.org/mythbusters/2006/04/episode_50_bullets_fired_up_vo.html They demonstrated that vodka applies to a poison oak rash does not reduce inflammation. There were 2 important points they did not consider but, if they had a good grasp of the process, there would be no entertainment. 1) The high percentage of staff that did not develop a reaction is probably an indication of their lifestyle. If you have not previously been exposed to the oil, you get a one time free pass. You need a sensitizing dose first; after you are sensitized then the next exposure creates a reaction. Not everyone will become sensitized on the first dose; it may take several exposures or may never happen. The fact you don't react this time is no warranty for the next time. 2) Once the rash has appeared, the immune system has already massively ramped up its response. Topical application of any agent is like throwing a bucket of water on a barn full of hay already fully engulfed in flames. You may get some local relief but you haven't removed the fuel. -- Looking for an H-912 (container). ------------ And now a word from our sponsor ------------------ Want to have instant messaging, and chat rooms, and discussion groups for your local users or business, you need dbabble! -- See http://netwinsite.com/sponsor/sponsor_dbabble.htm ----

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