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  1. #1
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    Poison Oak Killing the passion... any experts out there?

    I had the worst PO case for the past few weeks, arms, knees, legs and even the stomach. ahhh... So it finally went away and I go ride again AFTER cleaning all my gear, new gloves, i thought I cleaned everything. Bam, I am getting it again and it looks like another two weeks of PO.

    I am 99% sure it was not from the ride - wide trails in the sun with no PO in sight, where else would you look? even though I was wearing different gloves I think there must have been some PO on them somehow since my hands and wrists are getting it... I cleaned my grips twice but maybe I left somehow there somehow?? I wore sleeves but have it on my arm near my elbow. I have it on the back of my ankles, but I had socks on... Man its freaking me out, i cant track this down. Have any of you had to do the same thing tracking down the source of the PO oil at the house?

    Appreciate and help and also if PO has killed the passion for you. I thought ticks were the worst but PO is inching up there

    a few photos of the last case for your viewing pleasure...

    Poison Oak Killing the passion... any experts out there?-po2.jpg
    Poison Oak Killing the passion... any experts out there?-po.jpg

  2. #2
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    Looks awful. Wish I could help.

  3. #3
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    How did you initially get the poison oak in the first place? I've only had it once and that's when I was a kid and I got it because I was dumb enough to go messing around in the stuff. Are you certain that its poison oak?
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  4. #4
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    Tecnu. You can use it on your skin as well as wash clothes in it. Probably can scrub your handlebars, etc down with it to. It breaks the urushiol oil down.

  5. #5
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    The reaction on your skin comes from urushiol, which is an oily liquid. Once it sorbs to your skin you can't spread it, but it will persist on other surfaces that it can't absorb into.

    Things that could be harboring urushiol (other than the poison oak/ivy plants themselves): tools, pets (their fur), bike frame, your car.

  6. #6
    Magically Delicious
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    Perhaps you've already discovered...there are worst places PO can find its way to. Good luck with a speedy recovery.
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  7. #7
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    I have gotten PO many times so I know all the areas but this time its almost funny, but not really. So i initially got it when i broke a branch on a leafless shrub, i swear it did not look like PO. My cleats were muddy so i used the branch to clean them out, oil must have gotten on my glove then everywhere from there. I have cleaned everything well at least i thought I have. I threw the gloves away, cleaned the bike especially the grips. Cleaned the helmet and shoes and backpack. But I must have missed something....


    Quote Originally Posted by Mookie View Post
    How did you initially get the poison oak in the first place? I've only had it once and that's when I was a kid and I got it because I was dumb enough to go messing around in the stuff. Are you certain that its poison oak?

  8. #8
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    How are you cleaning your gear? If you're just using hot water and soap, your just rubbing it around. I'll second the tecnu. The wife get's poison oak if she sees it. We keep tecnu in the medicine cabinet and i'll bring it if we're going somewhere new. Throw it in the washing machine with contaminated stuff (or use like you'd use stain removers).

  9. #9
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    Damn that freaking sucks. After moving out of the desert and to the northeast, the more I am realizing how lucky I am to not be allergic to poison ivy or poison oak.

    Stinging nettle on the other hand cripples me... but at least that only lasts like 15 minutes.

  10. #10
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    Without reading the whole thread [not much time].
    Here's what I know. I used to get poison ivy back east as a kid all the time. Then in Southern California as an adult I had a riding buddy that frequently got poison oak. For some reason I didn't get it. He was in excruciating pain with every ride at certain times of the year. He tried everything until one day someone told him about bleach. Yes he finally found relief by pouring bleach directly on the poison oak. It immediately stopped the itching and it healed up in a day or two.
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  11. #11
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    Ok, I'm going to jump in here given that I have been affected by Poison Ivy and Poison Oak all of my life. I have been entirely covered in on many occasions as a kid and still get smaller patches every now and then. I have needed professional medical care a few times many years ago. Over the years I have devoted some time and energy into the understanding and study of this irritant and there is lots that I learned. The best cure is avoidance. Unfortunately in your case, you're not sure of the origin.

    Not knowing that you've experienced contact is the very worst thing that can happen. Because if you're aware that you made contact, then your battle is half over by taking immediate measures to remove the allergen (Urushiol) before the effects are detrimental. Contrary to popular belief, hot water and soap (non-oil based) works decently if done within about 15 to 30 minutes or so of exposure. This is usually not practical when biking.

    A lot of hype about Technu and perhaps for good reason if used within 6 hours of exposure (preferably closer to 2 hours). However, if you were unaware of exposure or wait until a rash begins to show, it's too late for Technu. Which leads into us understanding what Urushiol is and how it is removed. Urushiol is a colorless oil that can best be removed by almost anything that is an oil solvent.

    Technu's primary active ingredient is an oil based solvent...food grade mineral spirits. They add some other stuff like water, propylene glycol, octylphenoxypolythoxethanol, mixed fatty acid soap, and an appealing fragrance.

    Propylene glycol and octylphenoxypolythoxethanol serve two similar, but perhaps distinct purposes. Propylene glycol serves predominately as a solvent or surfactant and the octylphenoxypolythoxethanol serves as a nonionic detergent and emulsifier. Simply stated, these ingredients aid in the mineral spirits in attaching to the skin and breaking up and emulsifying the Urushiol so that it can be washed away.

    So, understanding this, we can appreciate how we all just might have a simular household product available to perform nearly the same results as Technu if we don't have any around. Simple rubbing alcohol or anything like it works pretty good if applied in reasonable time. Once your skin begins to absorb the PO oils, the severity of the outbreak can be measured in the time of absorption and your skins varying sensitivity to Urushiol.

    So for all of this advice about using Technu after you have a rash and certainly blisters isn't gonna work....all you can do is grit yer teeth and endure as best as possible.


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  12. #12
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    I grew up in the Southeast and was familiar with poision ivy. We moved out West and I got into some Poision oak. We got "reinfected" every week, even though we didn't go anywhere that it would grow. This went on for two or three weeks.

    A friend who is a big outdoors type asked if we washed our clothes with cold water. Yes, we do. We are real environmental whackos. Not really. Just too cheap to buy hot water. We were getting infected from our clothes. He said to wash everything in hot water, and that would get it out of our clothes. Sure enough, that did it!

  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the help guys, ill try to respond to a few of the posts here

    I got the PO I think using a twig that i broke off a shrub to clean my muddy cleats. Honestly though it did not look like a PO plants but i didnt touch anything else that day... Rode widerish trails with the boys and they are both fine

    Bleach! I have read that use before, i will give it a go this time around

    One post mentions there are worse places to get PO... yes and so far i am not getting there, fingers crossed....

    How am i cleaning my gear - clothing is getting washed in warm or hot water twice with soap. Bike was washed in affected areas like seat and bars with soap but also with some auto degreaser wipes, i have to think these would be great for PO. Same for other biking gear - soap and also the auto shop wipes

    Thanks for the technical advice about the way the oil needs a stronger degreaser = totally understand this

    My problem is literally i dont know where in my house this stuff is, I have it on the back of my ankles.... well i think its PO - could be a bunch of bug bites but there are no bugs here. Then i have it on my elbow but I wore long sleeves!! whaaat. Its driving me crazy Maybe there is another plant out there that I dont know about....

  14. #14
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    During the spring when poison oak is the most active I can react to the dust from the trail settling on my skin or on my equipment which gets transferred to my skin later on. I don't need direct contact with the plant. The dust has enough oil in it to cause me to react. The real scary part is that my throat and lungs will react to the dust as well.

    During the worst time of year I survive by using the barrier products on my skin, wearing a dust mask, and carrying baby wipes to constantly wipe down my hands and equipment.
    Consciousness, that annoying time between bike rides.

  15. #15
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    Vinegar and salt over and over again onto the affected areas... I think its working but wont know for a few more days!! ill keep you posted!

  16. #16
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    My whole life I was never allergic to it. I could roll around in it(and did a few times) and get nothing from it. About 2 years ago I got a patch of it on my arm for the first time in my 40+ years. I guess my luck has run out. I'm more careful on my rides now.
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  17. #17
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    Surf time, I'm guessing by your name you surf?
    A while ago my wife got some in her wetsuit. We went riding before surfing one morning in Santa Cruz... The oil went into her wetsuit arm and it was the gift that kept giving.
    If that is a possibility for you, look there. It was not easy to get out, and I actually don't remember how we did.

  18. #18
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    Zanfel.

  19. #19
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    oh man, and good waves are coming this Thursday!

    Quote Originally Posted by John Svahn View Post
    Surf time, I'm guessing by your name you surf?
    A while ago my wife got some in her wetsuit. We went riding before surfing one morning in Santa Cruz... The oil went into her wetsuit arm and it was the gift that kept giving.
    If that is a possibility for you, look there. It was not easy to get out, and I actually don't remember how we did.

  20. #20
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    I'm very sensitive to it. It's very important to be completely thorough about cleaning. When you wipe things down with alcohol, immediately wipe it dry with another rag. Use gloves and throw all that stuff away. That oil is a bugger and by just letting the solvent dry, it will leave trace amounts behind after evaporating. You got it pretty bad. Good luck getting rid of it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by byknphil View Post
    Zanfel.
    God, yes. The ONLY thing that provided me with relief AFTER the itching commenced. Expensive, but worth its weight in gold.
    Mountain Biking Is Not A Crime stickers, free! (You pay postage. PM me for details.)

  22. #22
    What bruise?
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    Another vote for Zanfel, I've never seen anything as effective. It seems expensive until it works.

  23. #23
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    I'm no expert, but this was my experience you may want to try for a buck. I went down on a local shale trail (like landing on a cheese grater) then managed to get poison into the open wound. Was miserable for weeks until a co-worker suggested 'Fels-Naptha'. It's a bar soap, can be used as a body wash or in laundry. Been using it ever since as a daily soap with good results. I find it @ Wally-World for .99 / bar usually around the laundry detergent.

  24. #24
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    The only time I've ever gotten Poison Oak was when I wandered of the trail as a kid. 2 days later, my face was completely swollen and I was out of school for a week and a half. Knowing what poison oak/ivy looks like and using Technu preventatively has kept me from getting it again.

  25. #25
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    As I was riding today I was thinking about this. Is it possible that it's on the arm rests in your car? Be sure and clean that area carefully with Tech Nu or some other application SPECIFIC to removing urushiol.


    Fels Naptha (so glad I rediscovered that stuff). As noted earlier, it can be used to wash clothes that might be contaminated as well as skin.

    Quote Originally Posted by jp08865 View Post
    I'm no expert, but this was my experience you may want to try for a buck. I went down on a local shale trail (like landing on a cheese grater) then managed to get poison into the open wound. Was miserable for weeks until a co-worker suggested 'Fels-Naptha'. It's a bar soap, can be used as a body wash or in laundry. Been using it ever since as a daily soap with good results. I find it @ Wally-World for .99 / bar usually around the laundry detergent.

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