Sunday, December 27, 2009

The cursed poison ivy

I know that this is the time of year for the cold, flu, sinus infections, what have you, but...poison ivy? Well, you can add me to that list.

I've always been highly sensitive to the stuff. My mother is too. Every year, for as long as I can remember, I've had a case, sometimes minor but often severe, and I don't wish to think about how many shots I've endured. However, I think having poison ivy at Christmas is a first. It is just a small area on my wrist and a few other spots here and there but it is very annoying and can make you feel bad.

I know what happened. I ordered one hundred daffodils to plant along the creek in the woods that runs through my mother's property. I didn't have a chance to plant them until last week and while clearing out the pathway, I must have come in contact with the blasted stuff.

Over the years, I've tried every ointment, cream, and salve known to man and I can testify that none of them work. One product that I can praise is called Zanfel (I'm not being paid to promote it), a granular-type cream that works well if you can catch it in time. That is the only caveat. As soon as you've come in contact with it, you must apply it to the affected area to get rid of the oils that cause the rash to develop. Normally, I can tell if I've come in contact with poison ivy because it gives me a tingly sensation. This isn't always the case thought, such as this time. The best defense is to apply it after you've been gardening in an unfamiliar area. Zanfel is ridiculously expensive but I try to keep it on hand.

We've had our fair share of poison ivy in our garden but over the years, I have eradicated most of it. However, every year I come across a piece of it. I don't know if birds spread it but somehow, it manages to survive. Spraying with Round-Up will kill it if you keep at it. Products specifically geared toward it will work better.

Of course, knowing how to recognize it is very helpful. A vine with leaflets of three ("Leaves of 3, let it be!") that are prominetly veined and sometimes reddish in color. There are various types - poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac - but they all basically affect you the same way. The best defense is to avoid it like the plague!

23 comments:

  1. Hi Phillip! Sorry you got hurt. Those daffodils should rather bloom their best next spring! Have a Healthy and Happy New Year!

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  2. Sorry to hear you caught the poison ivy , I an normally immune but a few years ago I hit a mutated patch (Had weird growth all over it , like many of the plants of that area) and I got it hard. Even jimsonweed soap did not seem to help. It though reduce when I washed it with a nettle tea. I hope you find something to soothe you.

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  3. Phillip, 'tis the season to be jolly, not scratching. But your hint about "leaves of 3 let it be" will be a great one to remember.

    Hopefully you have a huge supply of "round-up" to keep that darn poison ivy out of your garden. Happy New Year!

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  4. You poor thing. I know your pain. I am allergic to it too.

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  5. Sorry you got it. So far I have been blessed to see it before it got me. I have found a few sprigs that have popped up in some unexpected spots. I am quick to douse it with some roundup full strength just to be sure. Then I use some throwaway gloves to remove it and get rid of it. Hope you get better soon. I bet those daffodils will be beautiful. I need to do something like that down by my pond.
    Debbie

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  6. I'm one of those oddities who isn't allergic to poison ivy. I found this out years ago when a friend of mine and I were grubbing around in an old home dump looking for old mason jars, and were digging in a mess of it. She got the itchies. I didn't. Strange stuff. I hope you're getting some relief.

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  7. I hope the curse does not last too long or spread! What a bother to get it for the holidays! We would not have to worry about that here for the severe winter does make it retreat. Best of luck for a speedy recovery Phillip! Carol

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  8. Phillip, so sorry about the poison ivy. We have poison oak and I just look at it and my body blisters. ;)
    After years of attempting to eradicate, we still have an occasional one pop up in the center of a flower bed. How? Why?

    Phillip, I wanted to mention that one of the recipes posted on my blog had an error, in the event you should fix it. The DATE recipe inadvertently had fig in the title but date in the body. I'm blaming my husband for that. lol ;)

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  9. Poison ivy for Christmas! That's a bummer. I know the daffodils will be beautiful. I think we had three acres of poison ivy around our house when we first moved in in 1985. We sprayed it regularly with round-up for years, and now I find just a few sprigs here and there, which I spray ASAP. I was not sensitive to it in the beginning, but I am now! I usually use a combo of hydrocortisone cream and zinc oxide.

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  10. I am so sorry to hear this~~it's distressing enough in the warm/hot months, but to have that rash in the winter! I use zanfel and think it's wonderful. Take care. gail

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  11. oh that is annoying! Here's to a quick recovery for you! And focus on the beauty of the daffodil bloom to be!~

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  12. Poison ivy is indeed cursed by lots of us. One of my friends found that old fashioned lye soap used after being in the yard, and possibly exposed, kept her from the curse.

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  13. So sorry to hear about this, Phillip, but am glad it seems to only affecting a small area.. We have some poison ivy on our property that is moving in from the neighbor's, and I try to watch out for it and use gloves whenever I am around that area of the garden. Glad to hear about Zanfel; I've never heard of it before.

    Jan
    Always Growing

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  14. Kathryn/plantwhateverbringsyoujoy.comDecember 28, 2009 at 9:28 AM

    Poison ivy and poison oak are a pain in the neck. Or wrist, in this case. So sorry. I use Oak-n-Ivy technu Outdoor Skin Cleanser if I think I've come in contact with it. (I'm itching just thinking about this!) It's not pricey, I don't believe. Health food stores carry it. Good luck with that! Hope you get some good tips!
    Meanwhile, how dear of you to be planting daffodils down by the creek on your mother's property!

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  15. Poison Ivy is annoying! I wouldn't think of it being something you'd have a Christmas time either. Hopefully the daffodils will look so pretty it will have been worth it. I hope it clears up soon.

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  16. poison ivy sucks! I got Angora goats last year, and they have been clearing my property of it! They have put a major dent already!! A contrary to common believe angora goats are the easiest to contain, out of the different kind of goats. I know that is not much help if your already have a rash....have a Happy New Year!!

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  17. Phillip I've had reactions to poison ivy during the winter too, as bare stems and the roots will cause that horrid rash. I have to use a prescription steroid cream -- even 1% hydrocortizone doesn't help. My husband didn't use to be sensitive to poison ivy, but now he's been exposed to so much of it that he is too. We've discovered that if you realize you've come into contact with poison ivy, even rinsing with just plain water within 15 minutes will get rid of the oil.

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  18. I know it is Christmas time, but here is a scary true story for you. One of my childhood friends was clearing land with his father and brother in the dead of winter. They amassed a great big brush pile to be burned. Unbeknown to them a good part of the pile was dormant poison ivy vines. My friend's job was to mind the burning pile to keep it in bounds and as a result he inhaled a lot of poison ivy laced smoke. He ended up needing to be hospitalized.

    May your new year be free from poison ivy and all other irritants.

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  19. We had a cow named Molly growing up in rural northern Ohio. She got out one day, ended up near the old crabapple tree. On chasing her back to the barn, I ran through a field that had poison oak in enough locations to cover any and all exposed skin at the time. I've never had it so badly. Not fun!!! I feel your pain.

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  20. Phillip,
    What an annoyance, especially during the holidays. Hopefully come spring, the sight of all of those daffodils in bloom will outweigh the memory of planting the darn things!! ;)
    Best wishes for the New Year, Phillip, and I look forward to reading your posts in 2010!!

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  21. I don't usually think of poison ivy as a winter times problem. Sorry you hit a patch. I'm very fortunate in that I found 1 tiny seedling of it in my garden a long time ago & was able to remove it & haven't seen it since. (Knocking on wood.)

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  22. OOOHh so sorry to hear that. I am allergic too but have managed to stay away from it for many years. Hope you get some relief and it doesn't last too long. Looking forward to those daffodils though.

    Happy New Year!

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  23. I have friend who cans jewelweed to use on poison ivy in the winter. It's amazing the way the juice from its stems stops the burning of stinging nettles instantly. It's supposed to work on poison ivy too. We have nettles here, and encourage them because they are butterfly hosts, but have no poison ivy.

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