Saturday, June 25, 2011

Skin Rashes that last and last …

by Diane Forrest

Coaster's hit song from 1959 - Poison Ivy:

Your gonna need an ocean
Of calamine lotion
You’ll be scratching like a hound
The minute you start to mess around

It’s a beautiful day, you are taking a nice stroll....the grass is green, the trees are green, there are green leaves everywhere!  But beware!  Leaves of 3 let it be!  Yes folks, I’m talking about poison ivy and poison oak.

This is a real problem in the southern states and I am sure other areas as well.  I am highly allergic, just writing is making me itch!  There was a large oak tree across the street from my school.  I would stand by it after school to wait for my mother to pick me up.  It didn't take too long for me to learn that it was covered with those nasty green leaves.   I touched it and swole up like that blueberry girl on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I had to go to the doctor and get what must have been a steroid shot  Back then my mother covered the rash with that pink calamine lotion.  Not only was I miserable with itchy seeping blisters all over my swollen face pink colored face, but I looked like a circus clown.

When my father gets around it, he immediately starts a steroid dose pack to keep from getting a bad case of it.  Not only can you get a reaction from touching the leaves, but if the leaves are burning and the smoke gets near you, you can get the rash, and also if you touch someone who has it you can get it.

Symptoms of the rash or contact dermatitis as it is more formally known as include:
  • Itching at the site
  • Redness at the site
  • Heat at the site
  • Localized swelling or tenderness
  • Blisters or rash


If you come in contact with poison ivy, wash immediately with soap and water.  If a rash develops use corticosteroid creams and ointments if the condition becomes unbearable, however sometimes the best treatment is no treatment.  Over treatment of skin rashes may cause you to develop reactions to other irritants.  However, you may need corticosteroid medication if it worsens.  It usually takes 2 or 3 weeks before the symptoms disappear.


As my daddy will tell you, if it is green and has leaves, stay away from it!

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