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  1. #1
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    Best Poison Oak Treatment

    Got some pretty bad poison oak this weekend, anyone know of any home remedies that will tackle the rash? Thanks

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    Go see your doctor for a cortisone shot. External things like tecnu help when you're first exposed but do little for the rash afterward. Cortisone always makes me feel sluggish, but I've had the oak so many times that is the only way it way it clears up now.

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    I have it pretty bad right now too. Got lost in the headlands and hiked through some bushes that did not look like poison oak at all, but lo and behold...

    When i get it, it's really oozy and makes daily life a real hassle, so i usually bandage the weeping spots up with some gauze, tape, and a little neosporin to keep it from getting infected. change the bandage every 6 hours (or 4 if its really oozing)
    I take a shower, and just turn the heat up slowly, and just keep spraying the rash with hotter and hotter water, it feels amazing, like the best itch scratching ever. This releases histamines (the allergic reaction molecule), and the longer you do it, the more you deplete your cells of releasing localized histamines, so you don't feel the need to scratch for a while. I recommend doing this before you go to bed, and take some benadryl too, you'll sleep like it's not even there.
    Once your blisters dry up, use a steroid cream, or if you don't have that, Tea tree oil works too.
    I am not a doctor though, so obviously talk to your doctor if you have the rash all over the place, on your face, if it gets infected. The steroid shot is a good option too but like mnsprinter said, the more you use this option, the more it becomes the only solution in the future, which is not so good.
    Hope this helps!
    i'm not that gnarly

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    Hey dude. I got it bad too on my legs and arms from the section I built. Your case is brutal!

    Cold/Hot/Cold showers with AJAX on the day after have worked for me, and some technu laid onto the wounds over the course of the day. Calamine works as well, but make sure to mix the bottle very well.

    I got it on my hands with some of the tools and just scrubbed it off with isopropyl alcohol, since you could see exactly where it had contact. I don't recommend using alcohol to cut grease on larger sections of soft skin because you end up killing your own skin cells.

    If it gets worse from there get a shot, if it gets really bad (confirmed anaphylaxis reaction or alot of swelling) then grab an epi-pen or benadryl just in case and book it to the hospital, better safe then sorry.

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    The hot water mentioned above works wonderfully for relief, but I like to go one step further in that regard I use a hair dryer on areas that are unbearably itchy and it calms the itch for the majority of the day for me. It works to such an extent that unless my oak is horrible, I almost forget I have it.

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    Hot water works wonders on the daily itching. As hot as you can handle for as long as you can. During the treatment the itch will be extreme! But after you stop, you should be itch free for almost 8 hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rendly View Post
    Got some pretty bad poison oak this weekend, anyone know of any home remedies that will tackle the rash? Thanks
    Hey man, sorry to hear that. I wrote an article here:

    Poison Oak photos and remedies - Mtbr.com


    I will tell you that 90% of home remedies DO NOT WORK for most people when it's already systemic (in your blood stream). The only effective once are pre-exposure and religious cleaning routine.

    Now that you have it bad, you HAVE to go to the doctor. You can suffer for 3 days or 3 weeks since that is what's at stake. What you need is steroids to stop the attack. There's many forms of it and varying effectiveness and side effects. That's why it's prescription only.

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    I have never found the home remedies, including the hot water method or over the counter applications to provide anything more than short relief. I have a tube of prescription Triamcinolone ointment, which works well and makes the rash go away more quickly. A physicians assistant or nurse practitioner should be able to diagnose and prescribe quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by surlyjackalope View Post
    I have never found the home remedies, including the hot water method or over the counter applications to provide anything more than short relief. I have a tube of prescription Triamcinolone ointment, which works well and makes the rash go away more quickly. A physicians assistant or nurse practitioner should be able to diagnose and prescribe quickly.
    This is exactly what I'm using these days. I had other prescription stuff but my kids had tubs of this ointment for exczema skin rashes. Lifetime supply.

    #1 rule, absolutely nothing should touch rash areas. Specially scratching.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by surlyjackalope View Post
    I have never found the home remedies, including the hot water method or over the counter applications to provide anything more than short relief. I have a tube of prescription Triamcinolone ointment, which works well and makes the rash go away more quickly. A physicians assistant or nurse practitioner should be able to diagnose and prescribe quickly.
    I also use this, although i find that unless you start putting it on right when you notice the rash starting to pop up, it doesn't really work so good. This last time i got it on my face, and put the cream on as soon as it came up, and within 2 days it had completely dried up. But i got the rash on my arm as well, and because i wasn't as quick to use the cream there, the rash began oozing and once it's oozing, the cream does not really work.
    Basically, if you don't get on that shit right away, you're kinda stuck with managing the itching as best you can.
    i'm not that gnarly

  11. #11
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    As noted in FC's article...Technu works well especially if you can wash with it within a few hours of contact. I keep a tube of the extreme version in the shower. Any drugstore should carry it.
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  12. #12
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    Here is a video that has good advice about preventing poison oak from breaking out in case of contact and works great for the times you don't know you got it. I have followed his advice and have not broken out even when I know I ran into some:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oyoDRHpQK0

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    Quote Originally Posted by sosburn View Post
    I also use this, although i find that unless you start putting it on right when you notice the rash starting to pop up, it doesn't really work so good. This last time i got it on my face, and put the cream on as soon as it came up, and within 2 days it had completely dried up. But i got the rash on my arm as well, and because i wasn't as quick to use the cream there, the rash began oozing and once it's oozing, the cream does not really work.
    Basically, if you don't get on that shit right away, you're kinda stuck with managing the itching as best you can.
    It it's oozing... one can cover cream with Tegaderm or something. But really it's time for steroid pills and the steroid shot to get in the bloodstream. They're more drastic measures with side effects but they work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthSideOf50 View Post
    Here is a video that has good advice about preventing poison oak from breaking out in case of contact and works great for the times you don't know you got it. I have followed his advice and have not broken out even when I know I ran into some:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oyoDRHpQK0
    This is the best video of all time. Works so well. And you can use your technu extreme or dishwashing liquid or your favorite detergent. The key is the abrasive scrubber.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthSideOf50 View Post
    Here is a video that has good advice about preventing poison oak from breaking out in case of contact and works great for the times you don't know you got it. I have followed his advice and have not broken out even when I know I ran into some:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oyoDRHpQK0
    I know this thread is about how to treat it but I also agree that this video/technique has worked very well for me. After a number of PO run ins I got some tecnu and started using. I then watched this video and switched to dawn soap which I like a lot more. I keep my kids old socks and some dawn soap under the sink. When I have been near PO or know I touched some I will scrub with the soap and sock then throw the sock away. The only time I get PO now is when I get lazy and don't clean it then I get reminded how much it stinks to have and the soap comes out again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    It it's oozing... one can cover cream with Tegaderm or something. But really it's time for steroid pills and the steroid shot to get in the bloodstream. They're more drastic measures with side effects but they work.
    Oh forgot about tegaderm. Good point
    I wish there was a way to specifically bond the steroid to the inflicted cells. Maybe i'll work on that next week...
    in the meantime, watch out for man boob growth!
    i'm not that gnarly

  17. #17
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    Alcohol. I prefer a single malt, but others work well also.

    Taken internally as needed. In copious quantities.
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  18. #18
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    I'm mostly immune these days, but got a bad systemic reaction awhile back (we cleared brush on day 1 of Caballo Rojo trail at Tamarancho) I didn't get any blisters, but a huge rash from chest down. Not really sure what is was, but my MD gave me an analgesic that helped me sleep. Made a big difference.

    Even with some acquired immunity, I still take precautions & use Technu after heavy exposure. It IS possible to transmit the oil to you spouse, and to anyone else if on your hands. Some tips that I find make a difference follow. (I have had some HEAVY exposure, and wasn't always immune)

    Take warm (colder the better) shower asap, and rinse off dirt etc. Hot water opens the pores -not a good idea. Don't touch any areas with your bare hands!

    Apply Technu with PAPER TOWEL or wet wipes. Use a different towel for each exposed area to avoid spreading the oils. Wait 5 mins, then repeat. Do NOT apply technu with bare hands. Finally, wash off technu with soap. Don't use hot water. With heavy exposure, you might still want to use disposable towels for this step.

    I read about the hot water treatment in above posts. If that works, fine. But I wouldn't do that until AFTER a full technu treatment, as it will open pores & make you more susceptible until oils are thoroughly removed.

    Be REALLY careful if you ride/hike with dogs. They become Poison Oak BROOMS. And if you've been exposed, & need to relieve yourself, do that HANDS FREE. An error in this area will make you pray for death.

    Clothing & shoes should be washed THOROUGHLY. And remember that the oak oils will probably remain on your shoes for awhile. If hiking, it can even remain on shoe laces. With heavy exposure you might remove shoes/clothes with disposable rubber gloves (no I'm not kidding). If doing trail work, oils will remain on work gloves, and tools -esp loppers if you're clipping oak.

    Truly a DEVIL WEED! (and VERY dangerous for wild lands firefighters)
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairfaxian View Post
    (we cleared brush on day 1 of Caballo Rojo trail at Tamarancho)

    read about the hot water treatment in above posts. If that works, fine. But I wouldn't do that until AFTER a full technu treatment, as it will open pores & make you more susceptible until oils are thoroughly removed.
    What's up with that trail btw, getting close to opening?

    The hot water treatment is for after you already have broken out with the rash
    i'm not that gnarly

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairfaxian View Post
    I'm mostly immune these days, but got a bad systemic reaction awhile back (we cleared brush on day 1 of Caballo Rojo trail at Tamarancho) I didn't get any blisters, but a huge rash from chest down. Not really sure what is was, but my MD gave me an analgesic that helped me sleep. Made a big difference.

    Even with some acquired immunity, I still take precautions & use Technu after heavy exposure. It IS possible to transmit the oil to you spouse, and to anyone else if on your hands. Some tips that I find make a difference follow. (I have had some HEAVY exposure, and wasn't always immune)

    Take warm (colder the better) shower asap, and rinse off dirt etc. Hot water opens the pores -not a good idea. Don't touch any areas with your bare hands!

    Apply Technu with PAPER TOWEL or wet wipes. Use a different towel for each exposed area to avoid spreading the oils. Wait 5 mins, then repeat. Do NOT apply technu with bare hands. Finally, wash off technu with soap. Don't use hot water. With heavy exposure, you might still want to use disposable towels for this step.

    I read about the hot water treatment in above posts. If that works, fine. But I wouldn't do that until AFTER a full technu treatment, as it will open pores & make you more susceptible until oils are thoroughly removed.

    Be REALLY careful if you ride/hike with dogs. They become Poison Oak BROOMS. And if you've been exposed, & need to relieve yourself, do that HANDS FREE. An error in this area will make you pray for death.

    Clothing & shoes should be washed THOROUGHLY. And remember that the oak oils will probably remain on your shoes for awhile. If hiking, it can even remain on shoe laces. With heavy exposure you might remove shoes/clothes with disposable rubber gloves (no I'm not kidding). If doing trail work, oils will remain on work gloves, and tools -esp loppers if you're clipping oak.

    Truly a DEVIL WEED! (and VERY dangerous for wild lands firefighters)
    Didnít even think about the risk to firefighters. Their clothes and tools must be so contaminated. Inhaling that oak fire too!!
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  21. #21
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    Tecnu Extreme and Cold Water. Keep using it until the oil is out. You'd be surprised how long it can stay in skin

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    I use dishwashing soap and hand towel three times when in the shower after a suspected ride.

    If I do get it anyway, I double up on doses of Claritin for about a week and it keeps the rash to a minimum.

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    paging woodrock.... someone should collect the info from that series of posts earlier this year.

    one thing which seems to help a bit (if you do get a rash) is tegaderm. maybe to stop from scratching!

  24. #24
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    My approach to ridding of it some might argue is a bit sadistic, but here goes: one you feel the itching, scratch the hell out of it. Next, douse the affected areas with 80 - 90% isopropyl alcohol, let it dry, then apply Calamyde lotion. If the relative humidity where you reside is high, the process of healing will take longer. I am affected by poison oak on average twice a year, and the above procedure has helped speed it out of my system sooner than later.
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    A now retired BLM guy we worked with building the Blue Ridge Trail back in the 1980's swore by using Pinesol soap. It has a pine resin derived solvent in it and smells like turpentine. He would shower with Pinesol as soon as he got home and wash all his clothes in hot water and extra soap. I suspect that newer stuff like Technu is better. I don't know for sure because I stopped reacting to poison oak about 20 years ago.

    For the worst cases, the doctor will prescribe Prednisone. As any one with asthma will testify, it is the wonder drug from hell.

    Yet another approach to combine with post-exposure cleaning is to use a silicone barrier cream on hands etc. before trail work. It can be bought at safety supplies and businesses that sell epoxy resins.
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    I usually go with the approach of accidentally scratch it by pulling your sheets off wrong, letting your jeans rub it will walking, or just simply looking at it. Then I go from a small light and delicate scratch to a full on itching tsunami in about a 2-3 seconds. I continue down that path until I'm either bleeding or the pain of what I just did to my skin overwhelms the need to itch more. I typically repeat this process for 1-2 weeks. At that point it's completely better and I forget about how bad it was until the next time I get infected.
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  27. #27
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    Scratch that bitch.

    Turns out, we have something just as bad up North, called cow-parsnip. It's not as widely understood, but it itches like hell, blisters bad, and you get nasty purple scars for months after, it seems to "burn" your skin. Activated by ultraviolet light. Got to experience it first-hand this year.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Scratch that bitch.

    Turns out, we have something just as bad up North, called cow-parsnip. It's not as widely understood, but it itches like hell, blisters bad, and you get nasty purple scars for months after, it seems to "burn" your skin. Activated by ultraviolet light. Got to experience it first-hand this year.
    There is a point in the poison oak cycle a couple days where it is fully gone where you can scratch the heck out it, consequence free. Yup. Just rewards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Scratch that bitch.

    Turns out, we have something just as bad up North, called cow-parsnip. It's not as widely understood, but it itches like hell, blisters bad, and you get nasty purple scars for months after, it seems to "burn" your skin. Activated by ultraviolet light. Got to experience it first-hand this year.
    Cow parsnip or poison hemlock? They look similar but one is toxic.

    Then again, looks like cow parsnip is phototoxic too....

    https://joansgarden.wordpress.com/20...white-flowers/

  30. #30
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    This is the brutal method. First as mentioned take a nice and long shower. After a thorough cleaning of the affected area and letting yourself dry. Damp a cloth in rubbing alcohol for two days. Treat with regular otc treating during the day. The rubbing alcohol dries our the skin which ads in getting rid of the Oak. The draw back here your will end up with a unsightly patch on your skin that goes away in two - three days.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rendly View Post
    Got some pretty bad poison oak this weekend, anyone know of any home remedies that will tackle the rash? Thanks
    Yo. Miggy said he saw a tiny fraction of your oak and was scared. And that you missed school. How's it going?? Don't be optimistic. Be a realist and think of how many rides and nights of sleep you'll miss if this doesn't go away soon.

    If it's still bad, doctor time.

    Before I started seeing the doctor... 4-6 weeks of suffering for me once fully infected.
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  32. #32
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    Oak is definitely going away, used a combination of prescribed anti-biotic creams and using some prednisone as well. The rash is fairly well spread out so I am under the impression that itíll take a while. I will keep you updated!


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    Best Poison Oak Treatment

    I've written this in just about every thread that I've seen on the topic. It works & is dead simple. Automotive hand cleaner (I prefer Gojo, no pumice, cheap at Walmart). Use it immediately after contact, even on the trail if you're really sensitive. It doesn't require water. I keep some in my car for right after questionable rides. Then I'll apply it again in the shower before any water. I've found nothing that removes greasy oils better with no skin damage. Then just shower like normal. Haven't had any rash when I do this.

    If you already have rash, hot shower works great but it must be very hot. Benadryl also helps. Steroid creams sometimes help a little but nowhere near as well as prescription Prednisone. Far better to clean up after exposure & prevent the reaction in the first place.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rendly View Post
    Oak is definitely going away, used a combination of prescribed anti-biotic creams and using some prednisone as well. The rash is fairly well spread out so I am under the impression that itíll take a while. I will keep you updated!


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    Right on. Yeah, you used the steroid cocktail so that is the bigboy weaon. Recover well.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmtb View Post
    Then again, looks like cow parsnip is phototoxic too....
    Having seen what it can do in real life, it's no joke.

    I got some on the 100 mile Soggy Bottom endurance race this year. I thought it was bad, but it was nothing compared to what this poor soul got on the same:

    Best Poison Oak Treatment-20664510_1628547780553847_2955155626958759665_n.jpgBest Poison Oak Treatment-20664083_1628547783887180_4471439681813734937_n.jpg

    Stuff is no joke and easily as bad as anything I've seen with PO. It just seems to not really be well known and probably doesn't have nearly as much research behind it.
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  36. #36
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    One last bit of advice: Wash well before you pee! My friend can testify.
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    I'd run to the doc to get some steroid cream on handy. I've got a ton and when PO gets bad, it'll cure it within a few days.

    I've had great luck with dawn soap. I pretty much bath in it after a ride if I have a feeling I've brushed some PO. For me, it works just as good as Technu and is way cheaper. Might not be too good if you got some sissy skin tho cause well it's dish soap

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rendly View Post
    Got some pretty bad poison oak this weekend, anyone know of any home remedies that will tackle the rash? Thanks

    Trail crew leader class too? Mine slooowly got bad enough for doc-phone appt. yesterday. Prednisone pills & Aristocort A creme. Hoping it gets way better by last field trip on 18th. I might look like the Michelin man in a Tyvek suit next Saturday. D'OH!!!

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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Having seen what it can do in real life, it's no joke.

    I got some on the 100 mile Soggy Bottom endurance race this year. I thought it was bad, but it was nothing compared to what this poor soul got on the same:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Stuff is no joke and easily as bad as anything I've seen with PO. It just seems to not really be well known and probably doesn't have nearly as much research behind it.
    That is what I'm talking about right there. That is a legit, untreated exposure indeed. Pure hell.
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  40. #40
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    I am extremely susceptible to contacting poison ivy. Have been since I was a kid. I live in New England and ride with long sleeves and knicker length pants year round. I do most of my riding in the fall and the spring when the brush is not as thick. The best thing you can do is prevention.

    Now the cure if you do contact it - Drugs. If you have to contact your doctor, wait for an appointment, etc, etc it will be too late. You're screwed. You need drugs now to stop the poison ivy in its tracks. You need to obtain a supply of Prednisone in advance and learn the appropriate dosing schedule. The moment you start recognizing the obvious symptoms, start dosing. Prednisone in small dosage for a short period as required for poison ivy is harmless. It is a prescription medication because it is usually prescribed in heavy doses for an extended amount of time to arthritis patients who need to be monitored for side effects. So, ask your doctor in advance for a course of prednisone for poison ivy relief. He/she may or may not cooperate. I have a friend who is an internist who knows my history with the leaf, so he just sets me up whenever I want.

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    Forget Technu, Zanfel is where it's at. I am highly allergic and get a rash at least once a year and Zanfel does the trick

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbf View Post
    I am extremely susceptible to contacting poison ivy. Have been since I was a kid. I live in New England and ride with long sleeves and knicker length pants year round. I do most of my riding in the fall and the spring when the brush is not as thick. The best thing you can do is prevention.

    Now the cure if you do contact it - Drugs. If you have to contact your doctor, wait for an appointment, etc, etc it will be too late. You're screwed. You need drugs now to stop the poison ivy in its tracks. You need to obtain a supply of Prednisone in advance and learn the appropriate dosing schedule. The moment you start recognizing the obvious symptoms, start dosing. Prednisone in small dosage for a short period as required for poison ivy is harmless. It is a prescription medication because it is usually prescribed in heavy doses for an extended amount of time to arthritis patients who need to be monitored for side effects. So, ask your doctor in advance for a course of prednisone for poison ivy relief. He/she may or may not cooperate. I have a friend who is an internist who knows my history with the leaf, so he just sets me up whenever I want.
    Good info prescription is the only consistent performer for oak.

    Prednisone is the second line of defense for most folks. It has side effects, even short term. But the damaging ones are when used long term.

    Steroid cream is the way to go for most since it is very targeted. Hit the spots on day 1-2 and it works like a champ
    IPA will save America

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