Beware of Poison Ivy and Poison oak

This is my PSA (public service announcement) regarding poison ivy/poison oak. After Irma passed through our area, the amount of debris clean up was massive. Once the trees were removed from my house I worked with a chainsaw for 2 fulls days cutting up the remaining logs and smaller trees behind our house.

In my haste to get things done, I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings…fast forward about a week later and I started breaking out with the itchy rash looking patches on my arms and torso…Was pretty sure I knew what it was. At 45 years old, this was the first time I’d ever had. Trust me it’s not something you’ll forget. Given the fact that I spend a lot of time outdoors, particularly in the woods it’s pretty amazing.

The itching and discomfort was absolutely unbearable and I have a pretty high tolerance for pain…I was taking benedryl, using calamine lotion and could hardly get any relief. Yesterday I called the Dr. and got a prescription for prednisone (a steroid). I’ve taken two full doses and feel a little better. The itching isn’t quite as bad now…

This is just my one arm…I feel like a leper…trying to keep arms covered up so people aren’t grossed out…

The bad thing is once you get exposed, the second time you get it can be worse…I can’t imagine it being any worse…this was absolute hell.

  • Pay attention to the plants around you, make sure you know what poison ivy, oak and sumac look like. They can look different when they’re smaller, but the poison ivy and oak all have 3 leaves, all of these plants contain the oil urushiol which is what causes the blistering skin irritation
  • symptoms can take up to 3 days to appear after exposure
  • If you know you’ve been exposed try to wash the affected area with in 15 minutes.
  • rash is not contagious and doesn’t spread, although it may look like it, that is just a delayed reaction
  • wear long sleeves, boots and gloves
  • wash your clothes and anything else you believe may have come in contact with the plant. the oil can remain on footwear and tools for months

Hopefully you will be able to stay poison oak and ivy free.,…


Poison Ivy/Oak really sucks! As a young kid I would always stumble through some and get a nasty case of it. As an adult, tramping through the scrub in numerous SoCal coastal canyons, I would always get exposed. The best way to clear it up was a shot of steroids.

1 Like

yeah, I’m taking the oral steroids, 6, 10mg pills yesterday, another 6 today and then it tapers off over the next 8 days.


I feel for you, poison oak was always a miserable experience!

There’s a product called tecnu that’s supposed to wash off the urushiol if you find you’ve been exposed

I keep it on hand, Just In Case


I’ll have to check that out…thanks for the tip.

+1 The best advice is that if you have a bad case and it’s driving you crazy, just go to the doctor and get the steroids. I tried to tough it out this summer for a week and a half–it didn’t get better, just worse. Finally got the steroids, in one day I was feeling sooooo much better.

1 Like

Yea, I made it about a week. before the steroids the itching was the only thing on my mind, now it’s tolerable.

This will calm your skin down.



The first time I got poison ivy it was late fall and I was digging an area to plant daylily seeds. I got it from touching roots! I knew there had been poison ivy in the area, but it never occurred to me one could get it from roots. I was wearing a coat, but must have touched my hands to other parts of my body later.


probably need to wash my gloves…can see around my wrists where they were exposed to the oils and got some blistering. last thing I need to do is put those gloves back on and get another breakout…


I use that on occasion, and it is effective. Another (prescription) steroid cream that I find very useful is betamethasone. Maybe somewhat stronger than the triamcinolone.


I found one trick online that I tested on myself and using since. For poison ivy /oak itch, actually for ANY itch, even if it is mosquito’s bites… It is not cure, it only helps for 1-3 hours, but it gives you a relief. Hot water. I mean HOT. You should expose itching parts of the body to the running water as hot as you only can handle. First sensation is “itchy-itchy-itchy!”. In few seconds it turns unto “hot-hot-hot!”. At this point turn the water off and use towel to gently drain the water, do not wipe, just press towel against skin. That’s it. Works like magic for me. Please get well!

One more thing to add: Never burn poison ivy.


You’re right, the hot water does provide some short term relief…my wife got this colloidal oatmeal powder that we put in the bathtub…I got the water as hot as it would go. that helped a bit.

yeah I was reading that when burned the oil can possibly cause respiratory issues and burning eyes…

I got some poison sumac last year but typically don’t get ivy reactions. It’s more potent in the fall. I was mowing and the mower tossed a big wad of poison sumac on my back. It left a bare patch on my back the size of a fist for a month. It was painless but oozed and took the skin off.

try running water instead of bath tab, it will be hotter. Or you can heat some water to the point it is hot enough and pour it on the skin, the point is, it should be very hot, but you don’t need long contact really several seconds do it…

Sadly, children around an amateur campfire occasionally die from the fumes. Seems I read about it in Southern California about once per decade.

I get it every year, although not as bad as when I was a kid… What works for me is plantain, the weed that grows just about everywhere, just freeze a few big leaves to release the juice and then rub it on and let it dry. Jewel weed juice from the stem helps by absorbing some of the the oil if you put it on soon after exposure.