The last week has been a painful experience because I came in contact with several poisonous plants. Normally when we clear land I wear long sleeves, jeans, boots and gloves so there isn’t much of a worry when we’re plowing through the trees.
For whatever reason, I decided to wear short sleeve shirts for a couple days and that decision was a big mistake.
I was clearing and burning in the creek bed using a machete and weed eater to release the mess. Doesn’t it look nice? I’m pretty proud of my progress but not thrilled about the skin rash that surfaced later.
There was sumac, poison ivy and oak in the mix, but I wasn’t concerned because I had gloves and I thought I was being careful. I’ve run into these plants before and was able to detour contact so I’m not sure what happened… Oh yes, I was wearing a short sleeve shirt….
My week of successful clearing followed with days of pain and itching.
Everybody reacts differently to poisonous plants so I went online to do a little research and found this awesome site here. DIY Natural is a blog and was very helpful in guiding my journey because I didn’t want to go to the Doctor as I knew they would recommend a steroid in the form of a pill or shot and I didn’t want that.
I have fair skin which is about the same as sensitive so the rash traveled fast because I didn’t connect the dots as to why you shouldn’t scratch.
Sumac, poison oak and ivy carry urushiol oil, when wounds are exposed it spreads. So, as I was scratching I was making things worse… Oh, so much worse…. I detoured sharing rash images because there’s plenty of photos online referencing poison ivy.
Here’s what I did to stop the itch and begin healing.
- I tried essential oils, Lavender, T-Tree and Peppermint… They helped for a while but not long enough.
- Then I tried benedryl and I started to smile again.
- I found some over the counter lotions that worked for a while but faded quickly… Skip Calamine – it’s not strong enough.
- I discovered ice packs were a little bit of heaven and offered comfort through the long nights where I’d wake up every 2 hours.
- Sea salt helps dry out the poison, it burns until you remove it with warm water. The burn was worth it…
- Then finally about 5 days later, I tried Baking Soda, everything changed and I began to see light at the end of the tunnel.
My arms are still red, but the bumps are gone, this is progress. The itch is also weakening and I have to say the entire experience has been physically stressful. Between the lack of sleep and just feeling irritable I was less than pleasant to be around.
Robert was a champ and very understanding, especially the morning I woke up at 4 am and said, “I NEED BENEDRYL…” This was the morning of our 25th anniversary, on the drive I said, “For better or worse, right?”
Sumac, poison ivy and oak is pretty thick in the over grown areas so it’s crystal clear from here on out I’ll be wearing long sleeve shirts when plowing through as we establish open space. You can survive contact with poisonous plants but it’s just better to just avoid contact if possible.