HELP! Poison Ivy Out of Control
May 24, 2008 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Poison Ivy -- Ok, I'm on round 2 of dosepack, steriod creams, and combining N1 and N2 allergy inhibitors -- I'm doing the best modern medicine has to offer, and based on the raised ugly red whelps it appears to no avail. I'm covered from head to toe and unfortunately points in between. Now -- how about some some Hivemind brilliance on other methods to get this more under control. I'm game for about anything at this stage. And yeah, I know I shouldn't -- but I did -- so please, help me! (Thanks...)
posted by peace_love_hope to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Go get the steroid shot in your ass. It's the only thing that provided any relief for me. I think most emergency care clinics (doc-in-a-box) places will do this. As a fellow sufferer, I feel your pain. And while you don't want to hear this just now, try not to get into it again, because it only gets worse each time (I also know this from experience).
posted by rhys at 6:32 AM on May 24, 2008

Yes, get the steroid shot, and buy some Ivy Dry in the spray bottle at your corner drugstore. It will dry it up and kill the itch for a while.
posted by acorncup at 6:53 AM on May 24, 2008

I found the best way to kill the itch is to run the rash under the hottest water you can stand for a minute or too. Just a friendly tip.
posted by Mach5 at 7:27 AM on May 24, 2008

Where poison ivy grows, often so does jewelweed. I've had poison ivy badly enough to be put on steroids, and I swear by this stuff to nearly instantly stop the spreading and start the healing. To use it, I've collected it, mashed up the juicy stems with a rolling pin (or I bet a food processor or a mortar & pestle would do), and applied it like a poultice for 10 minutes or so. I don't know where I got that method, so you might poke around and find others that would work as well or better. Incidentally, I'm not usually an herbal remedy sort or anything, but since the first time I was desperate enough to try this, I've often gone back to it with excellent results. I don't find it stops the itching on contact, but by one day after use, the rash is smaller and less inflamed.
posted by daisyace at 7:41 AM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Is dosepack an oral steriod? Because if not, you need a strong oral steroid to get it under control, and then you need Zanfel to treat the stuff topically. It isn't cheap but it is rather effective.

The hot water is a great temporary solution, as well.
posted by Happydaz at 7:53 AM on May 24, 2008

Bleach. Wash with it. Try a small patch on your forearm first.
posted by jara1953 at 7:55 AM on May 24, 2008

Zanfel. Tecnu. Jewelweed. And the homeopathic poison ivy pills from the health food store. They have taken me from being a more or less constant poison ivy sufferer every summer to only getting little bits of it here and there that hardly itch and then disappear. This despite the fact that I don't believe in homeopathy. For further research, this article looks pretty good; you might want to read it because it talks about why steroids sometimes don't work and can even make the poison ivy worse. Looks like, as others are saying, you need a big heavy dose of steroids first or the oral, lighter dose won't do any good at all. Good luck!
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:33 AM on May 24, 2008

Calamine lotion. Long before all these miracle drugs were invented, I used to get poison ivy on my sunburned skin. My mom slathered me with calamine lotion. It cooled the itches. It still does.
posted by Carol Anne at 8:35 AM on May 24, 2008

Fels Naptha is an old fashion laundry soap, that is the bomb for PO, make a thin paste, apply and do not wash it off, let it melt into your skin.
posted by hortense at 9:40 AM on May 24, 2008

I've heard from numerous trustworthy people that Jewelweed helps poison-ivy rashes, but this study seems to indicate otherwise.
posted by ZeroDivides at 10:09 AM on May 24, 2008

The hot water is a great temporary solution, as well.

Wrong. This will only exacerbate any suffering caused by itching. Unfortunately I have no suggestions other than that.

Get well!
posted by sunshinesky at 10:25 AM on May 24, 2008

For a week every summer during junior high I'd go to a camp in southern Illinois (Ondessonk). At the end of the week we'd play a capture the flag style game. Every time the counselors would either march us through or hide us in poison ivy. So every time I'd come back covered in poison ivy.

The dosepak sounds kind of like what I would take. You started out with 6 pills on the first day, 5 on the second, so on and so forth until they were gone. I was too wimpy to get the shot. That plus good old calamine lotion and some ugly yellow soap (Fels-Naptha maybe?) got me through.
posted by sbutler at 12:05 PM on May 24, 2008

I'm doing the best modern medicine has to offer, and based on the raised ugly red whelps it appears to no avail.

Er, I think you meant "welts". I'm not trying to be pedantic, but your thinko made me laugh.

Good luck with the poison ivy.
posted by workerant at 12:15 PM on May 24, 2008

Put some antipersperant on it. The kind with aluminum in it, not the "all natural" kind.

The hot water trick does work, but it will make things itch A LOT for a short period of time, and then it will feel far less itchy for several hours. Whether you would consider this a source of blessed temporary relief or a terrible idea that will cause you to suffer horribly may vary.
posted by yohko at 12:58 PM on May 24, 2008

I once got covered literally head to toe and all points in between in sandfly bites. Everything I had ever been told about sandfly bites said that keeping them cool would make them feel better, and getting them hot would make them feel worse.

Eventually I just couldn't stand it any more, and went and had the hottest shower I've ever had. It felt wonderful.

When the hot water ran out, I dried off and painted myself completely pink with calamine. It wasn't a complete fix, but it was enough that I didn't scratch myself to bits.
posted by flabdablet at 5:48 PM on May 24, 2008

I've never tried it, but I always heard oatmeal was supposed to help. You could come homemade or storebought. I remember my friend's brother once took an Aveeno oatmeal bath as a kid when he had lots of poison ivy.

Here's a bunch of other stuff. The alcohol sounds sort of promising.

Running it under scalding water can be orgasmic but can apparently make it worse. I did it anyway when I had it all over my trunk. UHHHHNNNGGGGGHUUUUHHHOOOOOAAAAH!
posted by Askr at 7:05 PM on May 24, 2008

One time when my ex-gf was really desperate being nearly covered in eczema, we went swimming in the North Sea. The itch was a lot better for the whole rest of the day (though she was crying while she was swimming...) Anybody else try seawater?
posted by yoHighness at 4:19 PM on May 25, 2008

Injectable steroids are no more effective than oral, assuming you are using equivalent amounts based on the specific corticosteroid potency. And if you have a noxious reaction to the steroid - mania, depression, GI upset, anxiety - you're screwed if you get a shot. Pills wear off quickly.

Remember it takes at least 3-6 weeks for rhus dermatitis (poison oak and the like) to run it's course, and even then you are likely to sensitize the skin where it occurred.

I tend to favor topical steroid ointments (better tissue penetration) coupled with calamine, with or without oral steroids, and don't forget the oil remains stable on surfaces for a year or more.
posted by docpops at 6:23 PM on May 25, 2008

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