Despite my best efforts to avoid poison ivy, I suffered through another round of it at the beginning of June. I think I touched some poison ivy when we were spreading mulch at John and Jackie’s. I noticed the rash starting on my arms a couple of days later. As soon as the blisters started, I called my doctor for a dose of prednisone. It was a Thursday and I didn’t want to wait until it really got bad and started spreading all over through the weekend.
One of the most frustrating things to me about poison ivy is the way the rash spreads on my body. Even if I wash very carefully with hot water and soap, I can get new areas of rash weeks after the initial exposure. I am so sensitive to it that Tom has threatened to not let me go outside. All the articles say it can only spread by touching the urushiol oil, but mine spreads and spreads and spreads.
The prednisone worked and the rash stopped spreading and began to go away. Until the big storm on a recent Monday night. The morning after the big storm I walked my usual three mile loop through Char-Mar Ridge Park. About two miles into my walk, I encountered a tree across the trail. I wanted to go around it, but the trail at Char-Mar has lots of poison ivy on the edges. This particular spot was no different. I could see the poison ivy on either end of the tree along the path.
The tree had a spot between the branches where I could go through. I checked the leaves very carefully – no poison ivy. I checked the trunk of the tree. No poison ivy. There was Virginia Creeper around some of the surrounding branches but no poison ivy. Instead of turning around and heading back the two miles, I decided to complete the loop by going through the tree.
I’m sure you can tell where this is going. Two days later another round of the poison ivy rash started showing up on my legs. I could see exactly where the urushiol touched my skin. There were long streaks of blisters popping up. Normally I would have contacted my doctor, but I had just finished the prednisone and I didn’t want to take more steroids.
I see certain people every morning on my walk and one of the most regular is Christie. She walks the loop in the opposite direction from me and we always say hi. The morning after the storm she also went through the tree. Thursday I asked her if she was also had poison ivy and she did. Every day since then we have been comparing rashes and attempts at relief.
My poison ivy rash has been spreading for more than a week now. What started out as streaks of blisters has morphed into widespread areas of hot, inflamed skin. The rash is all over my legs, a few places on my arms, on my torso and is not spreading to my face. The rash isn’t as bad the further it gets from my legs, and there isn’t any blistering on my torso or face. I’ve never had this bad a case of poison ivy without going to the doctor. At this point, I’m kind of invested in seeing how long it lasts without medical intervention.
For me, poison ivy hurts more than itches. I’ve been taking Advil to help fight the inflammation and I started using ice packs on the worst of the rashes. The ice packs have helped me deal with the pain a lot. I’ve been a little tired from my body fighting off the inflammation, but it hasn’t been that bad. On the hottest days, however, I have been staying out of the sun. Sweating makes the rash itch more.
I hate getting poison ivy and hope I don’t get another round this summer. I hope the rash eventually goes away. Between the first round and this one, I’ve had a rash for three weeks now.
How about you? Do you get poison ivy? Tell me your horror story so I can empathize with you and forget about my own rash for a while.