Poison Ivy


All the above useless knowledge does no good unless you can use it to help yourself from getting PI or get some relief once you have it. So the following information is designed to help you make PI just a little more bearable.

Best Method: Don’t f*cking touch poison ivy and all will be fine.

However, since the BAH3/MDRH3 trails WILL run you through woods and shiggy and all kinds of areas where there WILL be poison ivy plants, below are listed several things you can do to maybe help prevent or minimize any type of reaction. Most of the following is as reliable as information on the internet can be. I tried to use some common sense, but as I am not a doctor (stated before)… and most all the legitimate medical sites say to go see a doctor for treatment (I guess they are scared of liability). So, the following is what you can do for both prevention and treatment:

Prevention of Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac

The following recommendations are ways to prevent getting poison or removing the urushiol before it bonds to the skin. In the following if I mention poison ivy, I mean poison oak and sumac as well.

Protective clothing: Many people who are effected by poison ivy wear hospital scrubs or the like when hashing through terrain that most likely has poison associated with it. The use of hospital scrubs provides a physical barrier to keep the oil away from you while not being nearly as hot as sweats. It is important to remember that there may be the oils on the surface of the scrubs, so be careful when handling them after the run. Also watch other articles of clothing that you had on trail – like shoes, socks etc. The urushiol is very persistent and will stay with articles of clothing for a long time.
Doctors: Doctors are not needed in most cases of poison ivy – remember like I said above – there is no cure. However, if you are susceptible to severe poison ivy, a shot of cortisone will help if you get it within the first 24 hours. Do not let doctors (or anyone else for all that matters) attempt to make you immune to the urushiol resin by actively exposing you to it as this will actually make you more sensitive to poison ivy. (I had run into that suggestion several places on the net)
Over-the-counter solutions: There are numerous over-the-counter solutions you can buy to remove the urushiol from your skin. Brand names such as TECNU® and Zanfel® come to mind. These are fairly well known to hashers and if you have questions on them, just ask around in the circle and someone will be able to give you a run down. There are also products meant to be used to block the urushiol from bonding to the skin such as Ivy Block® All can be found at your pharmacy store or possibly local supermarket. I have no information or testing data giving their effectiveness, but … they exist and may work.
Rubbing Alcohol: Yes, there are more kinds of alcohol than the type used for drinking. Rubbing alcohol, despite being POISONOUS to drink, still has uses. Carry a small spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol to spray down body parts AFTER a hash. Do not use rubbing alcohol until you are through being exposed to poison ivy. You skin has natural oils that provide some protection against urushiol. Rubbing alcohol removes those protective oils as well, leaving you susceptible to poison ivy. Also, when using rubbing alcohol, try to spray off the urushiol as opposed to rubbing with a cloth; or if you do rub with a cloth, be careful that you spray rinse after your finished and watch out because the cloth you used may be contaminated with poison ivy residue.
COLD water and detergent: You can also use COLD water and detergent (like disk liquid – something designed to break down grease and oils – typical bath soap will be much less effective), to wash after a hash. You do not want to use hot water as hot water will open up pores and may cause deeper contamination of the skin. Again, try to minimize use of cloths to rub the poison ivy oils as this may spread the oils and will also contaminate the cloth.
Jewel Weed: Also called touch-me-not Jewel weed is supposed to be a poison ivy antidote. The medical community debates this back and forth with opinions on both sides. I know it’s a home remedy I grew up with (I don’t get poison ivy, but it was used on siblings), but that doesn’t mean it works. Jewel weed can usually be found in the vicinity of poison ivy (isn’t nature convenient). (side note) Actually, many antidotes are found in the vicinity of their poisonous counterpart because what property has allowed them to live in peaceful co-existence can be used as a remedy by us. You can use jewel weed several ways, either break off a piece on trail and rub an effected area, or make a solution by boiling the jewel weed in water. I’ve also seen boiling jewel weed in water and then mixing it 50%/50% with rubbing alcohol to make a solution. Do NOT boil jewel weed in rubbing alcohol.

Jewel weed is also reported to be a good remedy for stinging nettles, bug bites and the like.