Poison Oak Treatment: My Secret Weapon

Poison Oak Treatment: My Secret Weapon on day2day SuperMom

So let me set the scene for you.  It’s a beautiful day here in Southern Oregon so I jumped at the chance to start weeding my garden.  I let my weed-eater do its thing in between the beds but when it came time to clear around my blueberries I got down and personal.  Then it happened.  I pulled out a baby poison oak bush out by the root.  With my bare hand.  And I’m highly allergic.  But the blogger in me looked to the bright side and thought this would be a perfect time to share my poison oak treatment to stop the itch and start drying out your skin almost immediately! 

Poison Oak Treatment: My Secret Weapon on day2day SuperMom

Photo Reenactment =)

How ’bout a little education first?  Because there is a whole lot of misconception going on.

The rash is contagious!  Watch out!!  The rash is not contagious because it is your skins allergic reaction.  It’s the oil (or urushiol for the experts) that is the culprit.  You ‘get’  a poison oak rash from the toxic oil on the entire plant.  That means the leaves, stems, berries and even the roots.  Oh, and your dog if he rolled all around in it recently.  I speak from experience.

Poision Oak Treatment: My Secret Weapon on day2day SuperMom

Poison Oak

You can spread poison oak/ivy/sumac by scratching it or opening up the blisters!  Nope.  At least not once the rash starts in.  When that shows up, and becomes crazy itchy, you can infect the sores with any dirt and germs you might have on your fingers when scratching.  A rash can show up anywhere from 12-72 hours after you’ve come in contact.

What you can do is spread the oil around after you have been exposed to the plant.  The oil can hang around on your skin and bind to it (or soak in) within 5 minutes or even up to 2 hours later.  For instance the palms of your hands have thick skin and the oils can not penetrate there but can easily transfer the oil from your hands to your face, with very delicate skin.  Delicate skin that soaks that oil up like the Mojave Desert.

Poision Oak Treatment: My Secret Weapon on day2day SuperMom

My Marky-Man with a typical rash

I killed the plant!  No more oil!  Whoo hoo!  Yeah right.  I wish but no such luck.  If you live in a wet climate that stuff can stick around for 5 years.  Dry climate people, try 9.  Last summer I had a wildfire within 30 yards of my home.  It took down huge Oregon trees all the way to their roots.  The poison oak however, is thriving.  To even kill this plant is dang near impossible.  Special sprays are made to kill the plant, but it takes numerous sprays over the course of about 3 years.  The plant looks dead but the next year little babies spring up from it’s huge root structure.  Spray again.  Spray again.  Spray again.  Cross your fingers and pray.

Poision Oak Treatment: My Secret Weapon on day2day SuperMom

Poison Ivy

I’m allergic, boo.  I’m not, neener nanner!  You never can tell with this devil weed.  Some people who have never had it, like SuperHubbie, can all of a sudden become doomed out of nowhere.  Others who have been highly allergic in the past can seem to gain a resistance.  Like I said, it’s a devil weed.

There are a few ways to help prevent your skin from getting to the point of becoming a burning fire of itch and misery.

  1. Wash any skin that has come in contact as soon as you can with cool water and soap.
  2. Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants, gloves and even hats if you think you might be exposed.
  3. Remove any clothes, stepping out of them inside out (to not touch any oil) and wash ASAP.  Be careful of your shoes too.
  4. Buy goats.  They eat this stuff like it’s candy and makes it easier for you to kill the roots.  I recommend Fainting Goats just because they’re hilarious.
  5. Learn what it looks like during all seasons of the year.  Even in the winter.  We have a patch I call ‘Stick Town’ in the winter.  Stay away from Stick Town.

Poison Oak Treatment: My Secret Weapon on day2day SuperMom

We dispelled myths, we educated ourselves, now let’s talk treatment.

I have seriously tried everything.  Every over-the-counter miracle cream.  Numerous hippy ointments and home remedies.  I’ve even doused myself with rubbing alcohol until I went screaming into the shower from the torturous pain.  I got a rash so bad I had to be administered 2 steriod shots within one week from my doctor.  He had never given more then 1 shot before me, and my quarter-sized weeping blisters, walked through his door.  So after 7 years of looking for a miracle cure I now keep just one thing in my medicine cabinet.

Wait for it…..

Poison Oak Treatment: My Secret Weapon on day2day SuperMom

Bam.  Can you believe it?  Stri-Dex Medicated Pads  Good ‘ol zit medicine.  Seems crazy but when you think about it this stuff is made to remove oil so use it after you even think you have been exposed.  When I, or the kiddo’s, get one little red itchy dot I start dousing myself with this stuff.  Now I’m not saying this will cure your rash immediately.  But compared to the $26 a tube medication, this will dry your skin and the rash for a heck of a lot less money.

Be wary of anything that says it will ‘remove the toxins from your body.’  The rash is your body’s allergic reaction.  Once the oil soaks in you are essentially… screwed.  70% of people will get a rash within 72 hours.  All you can do now is try to control and dry out the rash to help calm your skin.  You cannot remove the toxic oil from your body.  Think of it like this.  You can put olive oil on dry skin to moisturize it.  Once the olive oil has soaked in, you cannot pull it back out.  Stay away from voodoo hippie meds.  They can help you feel better, but nothing will remove the toxic oil after the first 2 hours and it binds.

Don’t be this guy! See more ‘Rash Hall of Fame’ pics here!

That being said something I’m going to try this year is a trick I learned from a Search & Rescue Team.  They can find themselves in fields of it in a moments notice.  They drink a shot of liquid pectin once a week.  Some even scoop about 1 tablespoon of dry pectin in orange juice everyday!  Lots of home remedies like oatmeal baths, benadryl and topical creams can help ease the discomfort as well.  But you need to start drying out the rash, nothing that I have found works better than Stridex!

Poison Oak Treatment: My Secret Weapon on day2day SuperMom

Poison Sumac with White Berries

Do you get a rash from these devil weeds? Do you have any tricks and tips to share?


    • pwpadmin says

      I know right?!! Oh my….after looking at some of those ‘Hall of Fame’ rash pics I’m so thankful I’ve never had it that bad =)

  1. says

    I feel like I get a poison ivy rash if I so much as look at it. My holy grail product was Ivy Stat which is now discontinued. It was replaced with Tecnu Extreme, luckily I haven’t had to try the new stuff to see if it’s really as good.
    Andrea @ This Pug Life recently posted…Insta-Friday #84My Profile

    • pwpadmin says

      Zanfel is a great product too but so stinking expensive. It helps with the itch but it’s hard to get in the shower every time I need an itch-fix! =)

  2. says

    I am totally allergic to poison ivy. And I did my research as well. The oil really is the culprit! This is such an informative post especially now that we are digging around in garden beds and traipsing through the woods with warm weather having arrived.

    Goats are a good idea. It also made me laugh out loud when I read that. I can only imagine my husband’s face if I told him I wanted a couple of goats.

    I’m stopping by from the Do Tell Tuesday link-up. Thanks for sharing!
    Dee Williamson recently posted…It All Started With A PartyMy Profile

    • pwpadmin says

      HAHAHAHAHA!! And fainting goats are even funnier! They really do fall over if they get scared! I’m so glad you found this post helpful =)

  3. says

    From a veteran poison oak rash sufferer, I can tell you that the Stridex really works to dry out the rash. It is much gentler than plain old rubbing alcohol but gets the job done. I have found that Technu Extreme works really well to prevent the rash in the first place. When I am working around the devil weed, I make sure I wash all exposed areas of skin with it, then I also pour a little in the laundry just to be safe. I still get a spot here or there when I haven’t used the Technu soon enough, but that’s where the Stridex comes in handy. And the container is easy to throw in your purse!
    One way I have found to get rid of the devil weed is to dig out the plant down to the root, then pour boiling salted water on the root. It may come up again, but then I just dig again and pour again! I have gotten rid of quite a few plants that way. I used to use Brush-B-Gone, then I found out about the environmental impact and decided it wasn’t safe. My son (a Forester) used Garlon on it for me once and that seemed to work – but, again, the environmental costs probably don’t outweigh the benefit. This was a great post! So many people are misinformed about the rash caused by the urishiol oil, thinking it is contagious! I’m glad to verify that it is not!
    Vickie recently posted…Homemade Red Chili FlakesMy Profile

    • pwpadmin says

      Thanks so much Vickie! I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who knows this great secret! I will have to try the boiling water trick, especially for the plants springing up in my garden =)

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