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!