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#158326 - 12/06/11 11:37 AM Poison Oak
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1719
Loc: Napa, CA
On our hike up to the top of Stagís Leap last week, we had a bit of a misadventure. The problem was, we didnít know how much of a misadventure until more recently.

We followed the use trail, and it climbed straight up to the top of the ridge, then clambered over every single rock and hummock on the top of the ridge. That made for great view of the scenery, but we got a little tired of the constant up and down.

So on the return trip I suggested that we parallel the trail below the top of the ridge.

Now the West side of the ridge is sheer cliffs in many places, so we stayed on the East side. And the plan worked perfectly for quite a while. And then we came to a hillside covered with brush that lay between us and the final descent into the valley.

We poked away at game trails for a while, but like most game trails, they didnít go where we wanted to go. And so I finally decided to break through the brush for about fifty feet, and did so. On the other side, the trail waited for us calmly.

Yeah, I thought about poison oak when I did it. And I knew that poison oak can affect you even in the winter, when it has no leaves. But this didnít look like poison oak to meóat least most of it. And I also seemed to remember that poison oak was a bit uncomfortable, but nothing to really worry about. And besides, we were close to home, and ready to hop into a shower to soap up immediately after we got home.

So what have we learned?

I was right. Most of what we hiked through wasnít poison oak. Thank God. Because a week later a few of those scratches on me were bad enough that I had to go see a doctor about getting some kind of help. The heavy use of Benadryl and Cortisone cream was making no headway.

And all the rest of that stuff I remembered about poison oak? Forget it. A quick and intensive session with soap and water did not prevent the poison oak reaction. And poison oak is a lot more than a little uncomfortable.

And yeah, yeah. I know. You told me so.

You'll be happy to see that I didn't post photos!


Edited by balzaccom (12/06/11 11:37 AM)
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#158327 - 12/06/11 12:02 PM Re: Poison Oak [Re: balzaccom]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Poison Oak - another good reason to hike Grand Canyon.

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#158328 - 12/06/11 12:12 PM Re: Poison Oak [Re: balzaccom]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
And now that you have had it relatively bad, you can pick it up with out actually touching it. The oils can be transported by air short distances. I get small hot spots a couple times every year after I hike by some.

Horses and mules love to eat the stuff. So when they come up and rub the front of their heads against you...make sure you know where they have been smirk .

For big spots, you need to go in to the Doc and beg for the 2% cream or a shot.


Edited by skcreidc (12/06/11 12:15 PM)

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#158354 - 12/06/11 06:48 PM Re: Poison Oak [Re: skcreidc]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1719
Loc: Napa, CA
Originally Posted By skcreidc
And now that you have had it relatively bad, you can pick it up with out actually touching it. The oils can be transported by air short distances. I get small hot spots a couple times every year after I hike by some.

Horses and mules love to eat the stuff. So when they come up and rub the front of their heads against you...make sure you know where they have been smirk .

For big spots, you need to go in to the Doc and beg for the 2% cream or a shot.


Yep--Doc set me up with some high octane meds. And they are making a difference.
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check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#158421 - 12/07/11 07:56 PM Re: Poison Oak [Re: balzaccom]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
We are more likely to have problems with poison ivy on the east coast. I've been told the oils have to be washed off within 10 minutes to avoid a reaction, but I can tell you that I have barely bushed a single leaf in my yard, looked down, and immediately rushed into my bathroom to wash with Technu and water. Repeat, repeat. I still got poison ivy. I can get it from doing someone else's laundry after s/he has walked through it. I did get it when exposed from airborne PI oils when someone nearby was doing a huge yard clean-up and ran logs and brush through a shredder. Yep, there had to have been poison ivy mixed in with the other debris. Like in smoke from burned poison ivy, the stuff travels in the air...

Point of info, there is a homeopathic preparation called rhus toxicondendron or something close to that(Rhus Tox for short) It does me more good than prednisone shots or pills if I get into poison ivy.

CamperMom

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#158557 - 12/10/11 10:13 AM Re: Poison Oak [Re: CamperMom]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Seems like poison oak occurs on the West coast, poison ivy on the east coast; so where do you find poison sumac?

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#158558 - 12/10/11 10:40 AM Re: Poison Oak [Re: balzaccom]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
People who think they are immune should avoid it for as long as they possibly can. You eventually develop allergy to it over time. Also, don't want to give it away second hand.

My first rash was at the ripe old age of 42. My dad was deathly allergic, so we were taught very early to not touch the stuff, didn't want to bring it home to him.
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#158560 - 12/10/11 11:17 AM Re: Poison Oak [Re: lori]
Merlyn Offline
member

Registered: 11/15/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Colorado
I am deathly allergic to the stuff - I get exposed, and sooner or later I am probably going to wind up in the Dr's office or ER covered in huge draining blisters.

That being said, I've had REALLY good luck with a product called Zanfel. Used as directed, it cleared my last couple cases in days (where it's usually several weeks). It's *expensive*- I seem to remember paying over $30 for a 2 oz tube at Wally World.. but it seems to work, and for that I'd cheerfully pay 10X as much. YMMV, but it worked for me.

Merlyn

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#158573 - 12/10/11 02:33 PM Re: Poison Oak [Re: Merlyn]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
I am, thank goodness, not sensitive to poison oak, but my wife is very sensitive. She has had good luck with a soap product called Technu. It, too, is expensive, but it's worth it if it stops a bad rash that lasts for a couple of weeks.

Also, any time she has spent time in an area where she knows or suspects the presence of poison oak, she takes off and segregates all the clothes she wore, then washes them at once in hot water. She takes a thorough, soapy shower as soon as she has disrobed. This strategy has worked well for her.

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#159629 - 01/04/12 08:04 PM Re: Poison Oak [Re: aimless]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Used to be able to get these big bars of Fels Naptha soap. Worked wonders for me.

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#159705 - 01/05/12 08:32 PM Re: Poison Oak [Re: skcreidc]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
K well Poison Sumac oak and Ivy not the same leaf but basicly the same Rosin oil. Washing off in ten minutes doesnt work. To late, staying out of it is only way. I found out the hard way In Poison Sumac a couple years ago. Doc had to put me on stronger Steroid dose than a cancer patient! I had a indian friend in Wis tell me Lysol concentrate not spray or other. Hard to find. He swears shake can till it foams remove cap and spread on infected area with a finger! Burns like crazy for a bit but seems to remove rosin from the area! Good Luck, Poison weeds are miserable!

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#159706 - 01/05/12 08:35 PM Re: Poison Oak [Re: Kent W]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
Oh bye the way Poison sumac is often found in wet swammpy areas. Thats were I got it!

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#159742 - 01/06/12 11:28 AM Re: Poison Oak [Re: Merlyn]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
I've had REALLY good luck with a product called Zanfel.


I've had other people tell me that Zanfel worked good for them. I bought my daughter some a few years ago and it seemed to help her, but she wasn't very impressed. I think that had a lot to do with the fact that she wanted an instant cure and there is no such thing.

I get exposed to at least a little to poison ivy almost every year. Last year I got it pretty good, no really terrible spots, but lot of light exposure. The idea is to remove the oil, and the consensus is that most soaps don't do that very well. Zanfel's claim is that they have concocted a special formula that breaks down and removes those oils. I decided to work on that goal using products that don't cost so much.

What I do now is lightly scrub the affected areas with Permatex Fast Orange Hand Cleaner. It has orange oil, and some petro distillates, to break down oil, mine also has pumice. I do this several times and rinse throughly in between. After that, I wash my entire body with Neutrogena anti residue shampoo, and again I rinse and repeat a few times.

I've used both of these products for decades while getting pretty greasy and oily while working and those products still work better than anything else I've come across for breaking oils of all kinds down and removing them from skin and hair. My experience is that this works better than anything else I've done to treat it.

There is also a product called "Ivy Block", which is completely ineffective after the fact, but did seem to help when I was harvesting some potatoes last year.
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