Thr truth about Poison Ivy/Oak?

  1. Hi there,

    Out of my own odd curiosity and because I had a raging case of it last year I am wondering about Poison Ivy/Oak.

    Is it true that if you have it and it weeps it can spread?

    I have done research on the internet that says it cannot spread in this manner and you can only get it in various areas because of direct contact with the plant oils or via air if plant is on fire. Yet, I have heard general practioners say it spreads due to weepy areas.

    If anyone knows for sure can you please clue me in?

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    About colleen10

    Joined: Jan '01; Posts: 1,761; Likes: 46
    pre-nursing student, secretary - non-medical


  3. by   lever5
    Does it matter, the oils can be on anything if you are very allergic, it will spread. My brother in law got a very bad case on a submarine under the ocean. Would you know if it spread because of weeping, or if you keep contacting it from you dog who is rolling in it. Or it brushed your coat?????? NO research says it spreads through weepy areas.......we just don't know where those oils are, can't see them, can't feel them.
  4. by   colleen10
    It matters to me, that's why I asked.

    It would stand to reason that if you tell a person it doesn't spread through weepiness and only through contact with the oil a person could then examine why it is spreading or re-curring and then take measures to clean or get rid of items that may have oil on them.

    If you tell a person it is spread through weeping of allready affected areas they'll just suffer along and continue to make contact with oil covered items and wonder why it keeps spreading.
  5. by   researchrabbit
    I was terribly allergic to poison ivy/oak as a child (have since had injections and it's never been as bad as it was then). It did appear to spread when it was "weepy". But I've also seen the research that says it doesn't....

    But I remember being in church, with huge itchy bumps on my hands (between my fingers, yuck), scratching them, and having new bumps on my hands where the liquid had run down before the end of the service.

    Of course, there's a lot of research too on "misremembering"...
  6. by   flowerchild
    I thought it spread b/c if you have the oils on your hand and touch another area, it spreads. Like pepper oils, it stays on where ever it is, touch your face and you've got it there, rub your eyes and look out! Touch back to the area you originally touched and pick it up again to spread it else where. Does this make since? I hope so.
    Side note: I am one of the lucky ones. Spent 11 years in scouts, primitive camping galore, backbacking for days on end, canoeing through swamps for weeks, and I have never got poison ivy or oak! My Dad has made so much money from betting people that he could rub it on himself, win the bet, and not a sign of it! I guess it's genetic! Fine with me! Ca''t wait to get back to the woods! Signed, River Rat.
  7. by   kittyw
    My dad, mom, and me don't get it either, but I don't go tempting fate by bathing in it either. I've heard that once you wash the oil off with soap/water that it doesn't spread after that. But I wouldn't know from personal experience.
  8. by   NurseDennie
    The weepy is just water, that's not what spreads the itchieness. Your body's defences go into overdrive if you are very very allergic or if you have a horrible case of it. Then any irritation will become an outbreak. So if you've got it say on your wrists, and you lie in a wrinkly bed and the sheet irritates the back of your knees (a tender area) then you'll have an outbreak there.

    Or like if you're having a raging case on your legs and some cutie MD scratches your arm to illustrate this point, you'll get an outbreak on the scratch - doesn't have to break the skin, just irritate it.


  9. by   researchrabbit
    Originally posted by flowerchild
    My Dad has made so much money from betting people that he could rub it on himself, win the bet, and not a sign of it!
    My mom is like your dad....and she got her first case of poison ivy this year!!! She is 76...

    PS Thanks Dennie! That makes sense!
  10. by   RNforLongTime
    I'm 30 and never had poison ivy. I'm not about to go rolling around in it to see if I'm allergic to it. When I was 10, 11 yrs old, my cousins used to send ME into the weeds where the poison ivy was plentiful to fetch the whiffle ball as they were extremely allergic to it. Some people just AREN"T allergic to poison Ivy and I guess I'm one of them. But I'm not gonna test that theory.
  11. by   boggle
    I deal with a lot of poison ivy with summer camp kids. I suspect some of the rashes on hands come from contact with the oil that gets on their shoes and shoe laces.
  12. by   Dave the Great
    <b>The cure to removing poison ivy from your body!</b>
    I'm not sure about bleach, but I know that I wouldn't want it near my eyes...
    The Key to not breaking out with poison ivy is to get the urushoil off of you ASAP. DO NOT USE HOT WATER.
    The irritant in poison ivy is urushoil. It is a <b>sticky oil</b>.
    If you come into contact with it, it will cause problems until it is removed from your skin and anything that comes in contact with your skin. There are several products sold just for this.
    <br>I'm very allergic to urushoil and have tried many. The best and most readily available is the same soap that your mechanic uses to remove motor oil from their hands.
    Because urushoil is a sticky oil it does require a little more scrubbing but it works 100%.
    <br>Directions for removal:
    <br>1.Apply the soap dry <b>(DO NOT ADD WATER)</b> to the affected area.
    <br>2. Scrub for 2 minutes. The soap needs to get between the urushiol and your skin. It will temporily break down the oils ability to stick.
    <br>3. Wash off completely with <b>COLD</b> water. If you use hot water, then you may be in for an unpleasant surprise!
    <br>Note: The residue soap will now contain the urushoil, and when the residue drys it may become sticky oil again.
    <br>4. All itchiness should be gone. If not repeat the process.
    <br>I like Lava and JoJo brands the best. The grittier the better.
    <br>Walmart, KMart, Your local auto parts store will all carry this soap. I usually buy the 16 oz squeeze bottles for around ~$2.
    <br>This soap also gets the urushiol and many stains out of clothes. Just be sure to hose the residue off the clothes before adding them to your laundry.