This weekend I was digging in my garden, unearthing weeds with enthusiasm. Normally I hate weed-pulling but MyFitnessPal app says that gardening burns 350 calories per hour. So now I love it. I figure every weed pulled is about 25 calories, and every bag of mulch hauled has to be worth at least 75, right? Anyway, I was digging up some horror that was so deep there was lava at the bottom of the hole and backing up into the viney thing behind me when I took a better look at that viney thing. Oh Man! It wasn’t, was it? Poison ivy? Dang.
[dang (expletive) (Minnesotan): shit]
So, what do you do when you’ve backed up into poison ivy? Tis the season after all!
First, identify the poison ivy. I like to tack up a picture of what poison ivy looks like in my mud room. It’s a good reminder and helps even young kids identify and avoid it.
Second: you can apply a lotion called Ivy Block before you go out. This lotion contains an ingredient that absorbs the oil in the ivy called urushiol and prevents it from absorbing into your skin. If you are planning to hike in the woods, or tackle the poison ivy in your yard, this ounce of prevention is worthwhile.
Third: you can get a goat. Goats loooove poison ivy! They eat that urushiol right up. Or you can…
Fourth: If you are exposed, take off your clothes and put them directly into the wash, or a trash bag if you can’t wash them right away. Then wash all exposed areas well within 30 minutes with soap. Grease-fighting dish soaps are often recommended but regular soap works well too. If you scrub with a brush, washcloth, or loofah, wash them with your clothes before using them again.
Fifth: There is also a product called Ivy Cleanse. This is a towelette that you can carry with you or in the first aid kit in your car (you have one of those, right?). It is formulated to break up and remove this sticky resin from your skin and is good to have if you are not going to be close to a laundry room and shower after your exposure.
Sixth: Cortisone cream, calamine lotion, antihistamines, can all minimize inflammation even preventively. They also are helpful once the rash develops, usually sometime the following day.