No matter who you are, you’ve probably come into contact with poison ivy at some point in your life. This plant is sturdy and can be found in most climates and locations worldwide. I’ve been allergic to poison ivy since I was young and get pretty bad rashes from small exposure. One of the worst experiences I had was from camping in Stone Mountain, Georgia. When hiking I accidentally walked through a patch of poison ivy and the rash got so bad that I needed to see a doctor before the end of my vacation.
The worst thing about poison ivy for me is the way it doesn’t present itself immediately. Everyone tells you to reduce the chance of irritation wash the oils from your body as soon as possible. For me this is never an option because I didn’t know that I had come into contact with this plant. More often than not I do not know I’m going to have any issues until I begin to break out into a rash. While camping it took me almost two days to realize that I had a bad case of poison ivy on my body.
Once the rash appeared on my body things only seemed to get worse. No matter what over the counter medication and solution I tried It seemed to be spreading rapidly. The urge to itch was often too much for me to resist and it ended up spreading to my legs, face, and arms within a few days. The only thing that would give me relief for a small period of time was taking a hot bath with oatmeal in the water. This would alleviate my symptoms for about two or three hours at a time. When it spread to my face I decided I needed to see a doctor for help.
When I finally went to the doctor, he took one look at me and decided that I needed more help than over-the-counter medication or basic oral meds. He decided that I needed a high dose prescription of corticosteroid injections. This form of treatment is only used for more rare and serious cases of poison ivy. After getting two shots my rash started drying up and reducing in severity within hours. Finally a few days later my skin was clear and back to normal.
After this experience while camping I have begun to inspect the area I’m hiking in with unparalleled scrutiny. Poison ivy, while not deadly, can be a torturous experience for anyone at any age. Be careful to avoid poison ivy no matter what you’re doing outside.