I thought I would update everyone on what’s been happening with us lately. Before I start I wanted to remind myself and you that I do love The Water Man. He is The Clutch Husband, I worry and miss him when he’s away being The Water Man and he is the most fun to make a life with.
With all that being said, I am not speaking to The Water Man. Would you like to know why??? I am laying on the couch covered in a homemade Pinterest concoction (don’t laugh, it totally helps) because I have poison ivy from my chin down.
Now I am The Water Wife and we live on the lake and I float the river and love the rain and the sunshine and all that is nature. But let me be honest with you, I do not go near plants I don’t recognize, I do not go hiking. I do not walk through brush without my jeans and mud boots (yep, I wore mud boots long before they were cool or cute) and there is one reason for this. I am severely allergic to all things poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Also, no matter how many times my mother shows me what these devil plants look like, I cannot confidently recognize this poison. I seriously think all plants look like poison ivy. I just do, it gives me anxiety.
So, how then, did I get this nightmare? The Water Man. When I did his laundry. Yes, that can happen. They “say” and I use quotes because I trust no one now, that you cannot get it from another person BUT you can get it from anywhere the oil from the plant touches. Including laundry. Like all the mamas, I have a never ending train of laundry so I try to stay on top of it. Before The Water Man even knew he had poison ivy, I had already gathered the dirty clothes (next to the hamper on the floor, I’m sure) in my arms and carried them to the wash.
I know this is not technically his fault, but can I just get some solidarity and everyone give him the silent treatment. Also I’m thinking I should add laundry to the list of things I do not do because clearly laundry is hazardous to my health. #Iwish
So with the nice weather coming back, I thought y’all might want to know some things I’ve learned about poison ivy from 3 doctor visits and lots of trial and error on homemade remedies and prescriptions. The following is what we tried and our experience of what gave relief, what healed and some other tips and tricks.
Just kidding, if we could only get so lucky. I do carry all the clothes in hampers now and wash my hands after throwing dirty clothes in the washer! But seriously, the best way to avoid an allergic reaction is to be able to identify the plants and avoid them. This is very best resource I have found to help you. I still think I see all of this in my front yard, so good luck.
I found this little concoction on Pinterest. It’s equal parts calamine lotion, rubbing alcohol and over the counter cortisone cream mixed together and applied with fingertips to the skin. Although it did not seem to cure or dry out the rash, it did feel amazing and give me much needed relief from the itching and burning. Fun times. It does need to be reapplied about every hour and then it dries and gets flaky and needs to be washed off but it has a cooling sensation that was unbelievable when I had been in so much agony.
Aveeno makes this wonderful oatmeal bath to soak in. You sprinkle it in cool bath water and soak. It calms the rash and also gives you some relief. Plus, I’ve gotten to soak in the tub every night and read a book, I can’t remember the last time that happen!
There are two types of steroid shots that you can get for your rash. According to my dermatologist, one is injected into the muscle, takes a few days to work and releases slowly so that it is in your system the same time as an oral steroid would be. Then you can get tiny injections that do not enter your blood stream. I cannot take oral steroids so I tried this. That’s right, my doctor put tiny injections all over my body underneath the rash, does that tell you how bad it was! Here’s my take on that, it hurts, like real, real bad. Did I mention real bad? Real bad. I had a lot of spots. However, it did not get rid of them right away and I needed to go back in for more as the rash spread so this was not the best route in my opinion and I did not opt for more.
Oral steroids are the route The Water Man took and they start working pretty fast, in a day or two, so in the meantime he has just had to find relief in home remedies. I will say he is not enjoying the side effects of the steroids but, they did get rid of the rash.
ICE, ICE BABY
I have to tell you, I don’t have enough ice packs for the situation I have going on right now. I have been sleeping covered in bags of frozen vegetables and they feel oh so good. Ice has been a life saver. I have had a pretty severe allergic reaction, my neck was so swollen it looked like it had doubled in size, the reaction on my neck and chest were so bad it was hot to the touch and had a pulse. I have wondered many times what people did before they had ice, I am so sad for our ancestors.
Speaking off ice, avoid heat at all costs. Heat sets off histamines and can make the rash so much worse and increase the swelling and discomfort. Stay inside, crank your thermostat down to the meat locker setting and be still. I cannot over express my gratitude for air conditioning and my freezer over this last week.
You probably already know, histamine receptors are what is in your body reacting to the allergen, so antihistamines block them from responding. I have been taking over the counter antihistamines daily, it is hard to know how well they are working because it is possible that the reaction could have been worse without them.
TOPICAL PERSCRIPTION STEROIDS
Prescription steroid creams are what really took care of business for me. I started applying this gooey ointment twice a day and within 24 hours I have had significant healing. Not just relief or improvement, complete transformation. I do not love to do steroids at all but severe reactions can last for weeks to months if not treated, trust me, I have been there too. So if you are having an extreme reaction, go see a doctor right away. In my experience, home remedies give relief but do not speed up the healing process for aggresive allergic reactions.
Another little scary tidbit my doctor told me was that the oil from the plant can live on clothing and fabric, like sofas and recliners, for 2 WEEKS! We washed everything in the house including all the linens and throw pillows and have been covering the furniture where he sat. I just had no idea.
I hope this helps because poison ivy is seriously the devil. I will let y’all know when I am on better terms with my husband. In the meantime, I am sleeping with frozen corn and peas all over my body, sitting in baths full of oatmeal and eating chocolate. I do think the chocolate helps, surely I read that on Pinterest somewhere, right?!
Now I’ve got to run, laundry to do.