Monday, June 29, 2009

How to Avoid Poison Ivy: Don't Touch the Plant!

For some reason, the pop tune “Poison Ivy” by the Coasters has been running through my mind for several days:

“Measles will make you bumpy
Mumps will make you lumpy
And chicken pox make you jump and twitch.

A common cold will fool you
And whooping cough can cool you
But poison ivy, Lord’ll make you itch.”

This morning I decided it might be time to write a post about poison ivy, since I have some on my left hand, and the rash is spreading. For once, I forgot the rule: do not look up at the trees while outside. Look down. Besides watching out for ticks and mosquitoes, rural living requires vigilance with regard to low vegetation. While clearing weeds under a cedar at the edge of the property last week, I saw the cursed plant with three shiny leaves but too late. Darn! The rash broke out the next day although I had washed my hands with very hot water. Wellfleet does have poison ivy in its woods. Staying on paths will help you avoid getting the rash. This is only the second time in a dozen years for me. As a child, I got awful poison ivy and apparently still have an allergic reaction. Years ago there was a great salve but it has been taken off the market. I went to the CVS pharmacy last week. The pharmacist suggested alternating hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion. In my humble opinion, I do not think he knows what he’s talking about, because the few bumps I had have spread. No “ocean of calamine lotion” does the trick. The Web now offers lots of options, and I will now try several. Here is one such site.