Nasty poison ivy rash
August 3, 2018 4:55 PM   Subscribe

I was out doing yard work and accidentally managed to get poison ivy up the back of my leg...

This is kinda disgusting so if you have a weak stomach you may want to pass, but thanks anyway if you think you might can help...

I have long line of blisters up the back of my leg that, after a long day of walking around at work all day have opened up and are weeping everywhere, badly. From what I see, they are weeping clear fluid, but the blisters look awful as they run out and cover over with a yellow crust up the back of my leg. They also have some redness and rash around them, and they itch, but not badly.

I don't believe I'm running a fever, but I can tell I feel under the weather, it kinda feels similar to something like an allergy, I don't know for sure but I figure it is my immune system and the histamines in my body working overtime to heal things up...

I was wondering if this was something normal for a nasty poison ivy rash and I could make due with calamine lotion, or if I need to get myself to a doctor in case it gets worse. This is something like the 3rd day of having this rash and this is definitely the worst that I've had it.

In case you think you want to see what it looks like, here is a link but again, if you have a weak stomach you may want to pass.

Thanks again.
posted by FireballForever to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
I've had something like that with hives, for which I would take a couplefew Benadryl and see how I felt on the other side of the ensuing nap. If you can wait until bedtime, that would of course not screw with your sleep schedule as much. I would wait for a fever before I thought of going to the doctor, but my experience is with Poison Oak.
posted by rhizome at 5:04 PM on August 3, 2018

That's a pretty small area, I'd treat with OTC creams, benadryl etc and not bother with the doctor. I don't think they'll do much else than that unless you are having a systemic reaction.

Having said that are you sure it was poison ivy? It kinda looks like cow parsnip which is more of an actual burn and should be treated as such.
posted by fshgrl at 5:29 PM on August 3, 2018

Benedryl & prednisone helped when I had bad ivy reaction. See the doc
posted by Pressed Rat at 5:39 PM on August 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

That's totally normal and nothing you need to see a doctor about. You might find that the blisters spread to some of the area that's just a bit red now. The whole thing takes about two weeks to resolve typically. The less you touch or itch it, the better. If you're losing your mind, try hot water (which will make it itch like mad for a short time, then fade). But as someone who had had about four really bad episodes, including one across half of my face, and one involving my entire hip and stomach area, and face and legs, (my backpack's hipbelt got covered and we sat down in it) -- things could be worse. Those instances I got prednisone, but it does have side effects, so I think you'll be fine without it in this case.
posted by slidell at 5:42 PM on August 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I just got over a case of poison oak (same toxin). Your symptoms sound perfectly normal to me. It is an allergic reaction, by the way, so it's not surprising it feels similar to you.

I used this lotion containing oatmeal and calamine to soothe and dry out the sores, and took benadryl in the evenings to prevent the itch from keeping me awake all night. Other advice is to air out the sores as much as possible (versus bandaging them), and to thoroughly wash any exposed clothes, towels, etc, to make sure that you're not reexposed.
posted by kickingtheground at 6:35 PM on August 3, 2018

You did remember to wash your leg well and to wash whatever socks you were wearing, right? There is a residue oil that continues to be hazardous long after you got it on yourself or on your clothes. People sometimes even get the rash on their hands from handling their clothes when they wash them.

You may find soaking in a bath makes it better so if you want to try reading in the bath, or watching a something on a portable, there's a chance that it will help reduce the itchiness and stop the pus from leaking.

And on the off chance that it was wild parsnip or something like that, make sure you cover up for the next week or so when you go out, and don't get it exposed to sun.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:47 PM on August 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you have to be somewhere that requires pants, you could opt to wrap with a calamine-infused foam wrap kit like this one: Poison Ivy Care Kit, which will prevent the weeping onto your clothes and has the added benefit of preventing your clothes from rubbing on your rash. I used this kit in the spring, when I was rashed up and had to travel for work.
If you're three days in, and this is poison ivy, my own experience indicates you have about 4 more days for this to run its course.
Nthing that you can likely manage this without your doctor.
posted by smuna at 6:48 PM on August 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm very allergic to poison ivy and have had a number of blistering, weeping rashes that crusted over than then cracked and wept again, while being uinbearably itchy. I tried every over-the-counter calamine, zyradryl, oatmeal soak there is, and the only thing that worked was blessed prednisone. I didn't find out about this miraculous treatment until I was an adult, long after summer after summer of misery at camp. See a doctor for a prescription, and in the interim bag and throw out anything that can't be washed in scalding soapy water. It's the oil from the plant or vine that causes the reaction, and it can stay on your shoes, socks, gloves, etc. If it can't be washed, I'd throw it out.
posted by citygirl at 7:02 PM on August 4, 2018

I'm still recovering from a systemic reaction due to poison ivy. It's been a month since I was exposed and I still have bouts of itchiness. My daughter was also exposed and all she got was 3-4 lines of itchy, blistered skin that healed within a week.

Despite using the Mean Green Hand scrub we had on hand, it spread from just the initial patch.

I did not get prednisone for it since the APN that saw me said she only does that in cases involving eyes or mouth. She also said the prednisone actually might provide immediate acute relief but the rash may reappear over and over again in milder form delaying recovering ::::shudder:::I did get a prescription for a steroid cream that helped speed up the healing.

Four weeks after exposure, I'm left with large brown patches (I'm of Filipino descent) on my trunk, upper thigh and back of neck. The skin there is dry and peeling so I'm swiping on Aquafor/Vaseline on the patches to promote healing.

If anyone knows how to help with the dark brown patches, I'd be grateful to hear about it. Otherwise, I know I'm looking at least 12 months for these patches to eventually fade and heal. Ughhh.
posted by IndigoOnTheGo at 8:49 AM on August 6, 2018

I'm popping back in for a quick update, because I did wind up getting a prescription for Prednisone from the doctor after all. I was doing ok and actually healing up, but after waking up on Sunday found that my leg and ankle were beginning to swell badly. As soon as that happened I took myself to the doctor who prescribed a 15 day Prednisone prescription. I assume my immune system just provoked a huge allergic response in my leg. No fever or pain, just lots of swelling and stiffness from the swelling.

Prior to that I had been using baking soda in the bath and was seeing some relief from the redness and the itching and running sores.

Luckily (but not really) I'm on vacation this week so I don't have to be back on my feet until next Monday.

Thanks again.
posted by FireballForever at 2:23 PM on August 6, 2018

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