Your Public Service Announcement for today is:
HOW TO SPOT POISONOUS PLANTS!
Urushiol is sticky and difficult to get rid of. It’s in most parts of the plant: leaves, stems, roots. And don’t imagine that it needs leaves to “get” you. Brushing against one of those hairy vines on a winter tree can still cause a rash, as I know to my great cost. That stuff will stick to almost everything, clothes, shoes, camping and gardening equipment, even animals’ coats. And it will spread from your hands or items to everything you touch (think cellphone).
AND HOW TO AVOID THOSE HORRIBLE PLANTS
- Wash with warmish water and dish soap. Rinse. Repeat.
- Soak in an oatmeal bath. Oatmeal is traditionally used for alleviating itchy skin conditions. They are a natural source of plant compounds called avenanthramides known for their anti-inflammatory property. Colloidal oatmeal is usually recommended but you can use regular rolled oats. Mix a cup of ground-up uncooked rolled oats with three cups of cold water. Add the mixture to your bathwater. Soak in the lukewarm oatmeal bath for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Apply OTC Cortisone and/or Calamine (I use this Aveeno product with Calamine and Pramoxine (a topical anesthetic ) + triple oat complex .)
- Aloe vera gel
- Baking soda/water paste (3-to-1 should do it) applied to the skin
- Cucumber slices placed on the rash
- Dermoplast OTC with Benzocaine and Menthol
- Oral Claritin or Benadryl antihistamines. Benadryl might make you sleepy so it’s a good thing to take at bedtime. DO NOT APPLY CREAM OR ANY TOPICAL ANTIHISTAMINE TO THESE ITCHES – IT CAN MAKE IT WORSE.
- To dry it up if it’s weeping use an astringent like rubbing alcohol, witch hazel or apple cider vinegar.
If you are really badly affected with huge blisters or managed to touch a sensitive area, head to the doctor for a steroid, like prednisone.