Tuesday, August 16, 2011
This was bad news, since I am extremely sensitive to poison ivy. Once I get it, it spreads all over my body. I've had to go on oral steroids just about every time I've been exposed. I use Tecnu Outdoor Skin Cleanser after I've been doing yardwork in infested areas.The main ingredient is deodorized mineral spirits. That makes sense; mineral spirits is a solvent used for thinning paint and dry cleaning. You could probably wash with low-odor mineral spirits from the painting aisle; you'd just smell like paint thinner for a while!
(My aunt swears by rubbing undiluted bleach on the rash as soon as it appears. Any other remedies you've heard of?)
The problem is, I don't always know where the poison ivy is--or was. Even dead leaves, stems, and roots can release the oil (urushiol) that creates the itchy rash. I've gotten into poison ivy in the most unlikely places. What I needed is something that will keep me from reacting to it in the first place.
The last time I saw my family doctor for a steroid prescription (three months ago), he mentioned that there used to be an injection for poison ivy. You would get a few shots at the beginning of the growing season. It contained small amounts of urushiol and would decrease your body's sensitivity to the oil. Unfortunately, it is no longer manufactured.
About two months ago, a friend of mine called and said she'd seen a poison ivy tincture at a compounding pharmacy in Peoria, IL. I talked to a pharmacist, who explained how and why it worked. Taken orally once a week in a glass of water, the tincture contained small amounts of urushiol and would decrease your body's reaction to poison ivy. A large portion of their customers are landscapers; they report that their reaction to poison ivy either disappears or is greatly reduced when they are using the tincture. I ordered a bottle of Preckshot Professional Poison Ivy Preventer right away (around $30 with shipping).
I've been taking the tincture (15 drops in a glass of water, weekly) for about five weeks. I wasn't about to rub poison ivy on myself to test it out, but a few days ago I got into it by accident. I saw and felt the familiar rash appearing the next day.
Would the tincture really work?
This time, the rash only spread to a few places, and only in small bumps. I had a huge smear of poison ivy inside my arm, and it never even blistered. In the past, the rash has continued to blister and spread for at least 1-2 weeks past the initial exposure. This time, the rash peaked about 2-3 days after exposure and then started to fade. I stayed comfortable using two OTC anti-itch creams and never had to go on steroids.
I'm still careful to wash with Tecnu after possible exposure, but I am much less afraid of my yard now that I am taking the poison ivy tincture. This product definitely gets a thumbs-up.