Urushiol: Japanese Word for Oils in Poison Oak, Ivy, & Sumac Plants

Friday, June 09, 2006

My poison oak is starting to slightly dry up on my ring finger, although the places that spread the last couple of days are still pretty flared up. I was so irritated with the plants, and annoyed that they were thriving in what is supposed to be my new garden that I donned coverings over all exposed skin surfaces & went out to fill up two recycling bins full of poison oak, Oregon grapes, and some other random weeds. There are some nasty weeds out there. Lots of blackberry starters too. I worked pretty hard for 30 minutes (Samuel was sleeping), then pulled a muscle in my chest/upper arm and had to stop. I used plastic bags to remove my clothing & threw away my gloves & shoes (I used super old ones). The doctor that saw me in the UR said that shoes have to be thrown away most of the time, because the oils can stay in the soles for up to two years. Anyway, I was going to get rid of that pair anyway. I put my clothes on a 2 hour sanitary cycle, and ran upstairs from the basement and scrubbed myself from head to toe with ivy scrub, meant to remove any oils that might be on one's skin. Plain old soap & water doesn't work--you need something with granuals in it that can scrub the oils from your pores. Within 5 minutes the Urushiol poison sinks into your skin & starts to have an allergic reaction. Basically, your immune system instantly starts working to shed the skin that was contaminated, causing the skin to flare up 1000 times more than a mosquito bite (I got this info from an article online). Anyway, I'd agree with the 1000x bit--it hurts like hell! I'm hoping I'm getting better at this point, and don't experience any more outbreaks.

For more info on poison oak & ivy, please see this link. --Karli

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