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Poison Oak!!! Argh!!!

Poison Oak (click for larger image)

Oh the evils of mother nature. I was once again touched by one of her servants, the infamous Poison Oak. There isn't an off-season for this nasty beast. It can strike at any time. It has many forms, a shape shifter of demon plants. Here's a link to a gallery I put together: Western Poison Oak Photo Gallery. I have also tracked down the following Poison Oak photos. Note the variety of forms.

Though familiar with the monster, I foolishly ignored the signs of its presence on a recent day down near Monterey. I even arrived fully prepared in case of attack. I had brought my bottle of Tecnu. This amazing product has saved me in the past. Even after the mark of the beast has begun to appear (the rash), I have washed with Tecnu and reduced or removed the rash.

But, alas, I became foolish. I had traversed in an area I knew was the lair of the beast. I had brushed near, stepped past, and hopped over all manner of plants. Upon returning, without spotting the beast, I ignored my own advice and left my salvation, my Tecnu, tucked in my bag to use for another time.

Within a day I began to itch. And itch, and Itch, and ITCH! Argh!!!

Western Poison Oak Photo Gallery

I now knew my fate and by the signs appearing, I was doomed. It was too late to Tecnu. The poisons had settled in. Still, out of blind faith, I washed with the Tecnu. With a glimmer of hope I wished for the magic fluid to wash away my torment. But, it was of no use. The poison was embedded deep within my skin and my body had swung into full attack. On both my legs the rash appeared. A long stripe first appearing behind my right knee and then down the shin. Then another on my left shin. Soon, the blisters appeared. These little nasty bumps swarm the rash sites. They begin to "weep", discharging fluid. It's getting ugly.

I made a dash to the drug store and bought some calamine lotion and another Tecnu product called CalaGel which I didn't know about. Also large bandages, tape, all the stuff I could find to deal with the situation. The CalaGel turns out to be a replacement for calamine lotion. I decide to give it a try and smeared it over the rashes. It did help reduce the itching but wasn't stopping the rash.

I am now on my way back to a normal life. I think I have learned my lesson, knock on wood. But, if I once again act foolishly and encounter that demon plant, I will now know how to fight back.


p.s. In my search for cures I found this helpful site describing Poison Oak and Ivy and various home remedies.

Posted on January 14, 2003 11:20 PM  

(7) Comments

Permanent link to this comment. On January 20, 2003 07:22 AM, susie wrote:

Very informative - and from one sufferer to another good news. Thanks and glad you are back in shape. Susie

Permanent link to this comment. On July 25, 2006 11:29 AM, Doug Ronald wrote:

All I see about Poison Oak on the web is a lot of whining about the immune response symptoms. I almost welcome contact with the plant, and have cut trails on my property through the Poison Oak forming a solid wall about ten feet tall.
After a day-or-so, try a hot shower, and it feels fantastic on the contaminated skin. If it itches, and you don't want to exacerbate it, don't scratch. The products mentioned above are for whimps.

Permanent link to this comment. On July 24, 2007 04:07 PM, Kel wrote:

A significant minority of people are not affected by poison oak, ivy or sumac. But current immunity does guarantee future immunity. You never know when/if your luck will run out.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 3, 2007 12:40 AM, Frank wrote:

I agree with Doug and will not try anything next time. didn't work for me, although it seems to have for a lot of people out there. The product just seemed to spread the ivy and I've done about 10 washes in 2 days, some during the middle of the night. I followed the instructions very meticulously, but it just doesn't seem to work. Now the area is all scratched, irritated and open due to the exfoliation.

Permanent link to this comment. On August 7, 2007 03:23 PM, Holly wrote:

I thought I had found Nirvana when I discovered about 4 years ago, but my more recent experiences with it have left me itching, just like Frank. I wonder if they changed the formula in that time, as I've gone through about 4 tubes (I work for the forest preserve!). My best treatment, after meticulous cleaning, is a compress of hot water. Get your water as hot as you can stand it on your skin and use a washcloth compress, repeatedly refreshing with hot water, or just run rash under the hot water, for about a minute. This releases the histamines at the rash site all at once, which makes it itch intensely while you're doing it, but afterward you get about four hours of itch-free bliss, until the body builds up the histamines at the rash site again. Seems to shorten the duration of the rash as well.

Permanent link to this comment. On June 2, 2008 08:16 PM, Monique wrote:

I recently lived my first experience with this plant and found that teatree oil helped greatly. Firstly I attacked the blisters with oil of oregano. Did not scratch for the life of me, wrapped the areas with bandages to prevent my fingernails from ripping off my skin and then soothed it with teatree oil and calamine when the oil dried up. This worked very well for me. Don't know how long the problem usually lasts, but for me it was mostly over at the end of 9 days. Hope this helps someone else.

Permanent link to this comment. On November 16, 2008 07:58 AM, Lee Fornelius wrote:

I was always proud to be among the few who seemed to be somewhat immuned to p.oak and/or ivy. Having only experinced localized irratations where I may have touched it. And it was gone before I barely knew I had it. Until this particular day when I was cutting firewood. I saw a bunch of p.ivy engulfing a bunch of wood that I wanted. Being all full of myself and my mistaken belief that I was immune I jumped into the middle of it. Short sleeves and all, and begun swinging my chainsaw. It wasn't long before I realized the error of my ways. Baloney on this 1 or 2 day delayed reaction stuff. I was beginning to itch within minutes. I quit cutting, headed for the cabin and began scrubbing. Too late! For about the longest three weeks of my life I was truly plagued. Both my arms, my neck, my face. You name it. It even saturated my tee shirt. I lived too remotely at the time to run to a drug store for any help so I toughed it out. Needless to say, since then I have had the utmost of respect for this "devil of woods". My advise to all you others who proclaim immunity. BEWARE!

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