Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Poison Ivy and Me: Not a Good Combination

by A.L. Woods, Staff Writer

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was the kidlet who never liked going outside. I was always at my happiest holed up in my room at the children's play desk that my parents had set up reading a good book. I had more books than I had toys. Who could have predicted that a bout of poison ivy was in my future?

On this particular day my parents insisted that I get out of the house and get some sunshine and fresh air. I grumbled, I argued, I negotiated, to no avail. They were determined that I was going to go outside like the other little kids and play.

Unhappily I made my way out to the back yard accompanied by my favorite cat, who also was sullen at having been unceremoniously deposed from the throne of her plush-covered perch.

As we walked along I spied a plant-covered mini-field of green leaves that reminded me of something that I'd read in one of my children's books. They were so beautiful and were even growing up around one of the trees. Shamrocks!, I shouted to the cat. Those are shamrocks!

Gleefully I ran in amongst the bed of green and began picking them, my little skirt blowing in the wind and my white sandals providing a complementary contrast in color.

It was a few minutes later that the itching began. Now, as a bit of backstory, I already suffered from chronic eczema, so this additional element in skin problems was most decidedly not a good thing!
Next came the blotches and the swelling. I began to look like a bad walking version of a pepperoni pizza.

How was it treated?

When I ran to the house and showed my parents they immediately went into distress mode. I'm telling you, there's no better form of emotional blackmail against your parents than for everything to go wrong when they've forced you to do something that you didn't want to do in the first place.

Fortunately, we had some calamine lotion in the house and they smeared it all over my tiny body. I was covered with blotches. I had a long history of allergies, so we had plenty of Benadryl of which I received a dose. WebMd also recommends a cold compress and hydrocortisone cream, and we did all that too.

What were my biggest struggles?

As a long-term eczema sufferer, it was bad enough to already have hypersensitive skin, but to add the ravages of poison ivy to the mix was truly a punishment. It took about a week for the irritation to finally fully clear, and that was with constantly dosing with the meds that I mentioned above.

I hope that neither you nor your child ever has this same experience.

Personal experience
*Photo: Leonora Enking via Flickr

[Originally published on Yahoo! Voices on 05/23/2014 (no longer published there).]