Friday, June 10, 2005

My arch nemisis, returned

You know it's summer time when I walk outside, go nowhere near any living plant, and end up getting poison ivy.

That vile, nasty weed!

This is undoubtedly the best case I've ever had. Basically the size of a mosquito bite.

Oh, the horror stories I could tell. Last year our then-one-year old crawled near some suspicious looking plants at a ward picnic. I promptly picked him up, and my arm broke out a couple of days later (he was fine--my understanding is some people need to be exposed several times before they react).

The summer before my mission I was pulling weeds at my grandfather's house. Several days later I couldn't move my fingers because of the swelling. And that was after a thorough hand scrubbing and lengthy shower immediately after pulling said weeds.

My sister takes the cake, though. She was about 12, and was visiting a friend in Pennsylvania (after all, "You've got a friend in Pennsylvania") and they went swinging on a big, wooden vine in the woods. Turns out that it was none other than a well-established poison ivy vine. She spent the next week or so covered, barely able to move.

As I learned on a recent web surf, poison ivy contains urushiol oil, which is what causes the rash. Ick. I found some interesting facts...

All you ever wanted to know about Poison Ivy plants

Urushiol Oil:
  • Only 1 nanogram (billionth of a gram) needed to cause rash
  • 1/4 ounce of urushiol is all that is needed to cause a rash in every person on earth
  • 500 people could itch from the amount of oil covering the head of a pin
  • Specimens of urushiol several centuries old have found to cause dermatitis in sensitive people.
  • 1 to 5 years is normal for urushiol oil to stay active on any surface including dead plants
That's mean stuff!

Common Myths About Poison Ivy

So while I love living in an area with plenty of trees and lush vegetation, it does have it's drawbacks. If last year was any indication, my ivy-induced "mosquito bite" will just be the beginning.


At June 11, 2005 1:05 AM, Blogger Carrie Ann said...

I used to be so allergic to poison ivy...the operative words being "used to." Can you become un-allergic? It used to be so bad that my arms would ooze clearish yellow day adn night. I would wrap towels around my forearms and then duct tape the towels on. I spent hours "scalding" the itch with hot water (the only relief). But now...nothing. I KNOW I have come in contact with it, but I haven't had it since elementary school. My mom once went grape vine hunting with a friend to make wreaths for Christmas presents. You guessed it, it was the ivy, and her face swelled up until her eyes closed. Good luck this summer.

At June 13, 2005 12:04 PM, Blogger lizzy said...

You know, I haven't ever experienced Poison Ivy. I've never experienced poison anything for that matter. I kind of feel left out.

At June 15, 2005 3:17 PM, Anonymous Sariah said...

Good luck on the poison ivy this year! I have no poison ivy stories. I think that's a good thing. ;)

Eddie, have you thought about applying for the VSofM spot? You'd be great - and just what they are looking for!

At June 17, 2005 4:15 AM, Blogger Suzie Petunia said...

Breaking out in poison ivy hives was an annual event for me throughout my childhood. But, like Carrie Ann I haven't had it since I've been an adult. BTW...I was on the "grape vine hunt" she spoke of with our mother. It wasnt' a pretty site. But the wreaths we made would make Martha Steward jealous (as long as she kept a safe distance!)

At June 17, 2005 10:53 AM, Blogger Eddie said...

Oye... Did you guys give those things away as gifts? "Seasons Greetings! May the new year bring you peace, joy and calamine lotion!"

All of you should count yourselves lucky to not be affected by this scourge.

On my way home from work I wind through some wooded back roads. After reading the ivy site, I've been paying attention as I sit in traffic, looking at the vines wrapping around phone poles and the such, and there are some really out of control ivy vines around here. I pity the lineman that has to climb one of those poles!


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