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Re: poison ivy question

The offending substance in the Genus Toxicodendron (poison oak, ivy,  
and sumac) is urushiol. It circulates in the leaves, stems, roots,  
and skin of the berries. If the plant parts are burned, it can be  
carried in the smoke, and can be particularly dangerous if inhaled.  
It can be carried on the fur of cats or dogs who can frolic with no  
undue effect to themselves in a patch. Only 10 - 15% of the human  
population is truly immune. The best advice I have heard, if you know  
you have been exposed, is: 1) swab your skin in a cloth drenched in  
rubbing alcohol - no need to rub, just pass it over your skin; then  
2) take a long shower in plain tepid water, you can use soap, but it  
is the water flow that works. (Don't scrub.)
Once you start itching, the urushiol has bonded to your skin. Now is  
damage control time. (Note: scratching will not spread the rash, the  
bonding of the offending compound with the skin is permanent. Not  
that scratching is recommended... you could get a secondary  
infection.) Cortisone creams can help with itching. Calamine lotion  
will help dry weeping sores, or bathing with colloidal oatmeal, or  
application of cool compresses. I have found that cases that I have  
had that involve small areas of the skin, that application of a hot  
(as hot as I could stand) compress, drew histamines from the skin and  
relieved itching for hours.
Any time a large area of the body is affected, or you inhale smoke  
from burning toxicodendron -- seek medical help!

Cathy, west central IL, z5b

> I was weeding.. and yes it was Poison Ivy.  Not sure how sensitive  
> I  am..  I
> have psoriasis, so not sure how it will react, thought it only  caused
> problems when it is red.
> but it is better than dh or ds getting it.
> Holli
> In a message dated 7/23/2005 8:54:43 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
> cathy.c@insightbb.com writes:
> When  you say "run across", did you come in physical contact with  it?
> Were you sure it was poison ivy? What is your sensitivity to  this  
> plant?
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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