A good bit of my weekend time during September has been spent outside working on the garden. I’ve weeded the beds, pulled out summer plants, and started planting my fall vegetables. I’ve also been working on maintaining various parts of the yard and garden area.
My dye garden/bed near the driveway had gotten pretty overgrown over the course of the summer, and needed a lot of work before everything died back for the winter. I knew that there was poison ivy all over the base of the crape myrtles there, but I’d been avoiding dealing with it during the summer. Even early in the morning it was too hot for the pants, long sleeves, and gloves needed to tackle its removal. There was also poison ivy creeping out of a brushy area near the raised beds, so I had more to pull out there while I was working on spreading mulch to make the mowing easier. So Labor Day weekend, I suited up and went out to deal with those two areas.
I’m careful about washing well after working near poison ivy, and have been generally not very susceptible to a rash after contact. This time, I either didn’t wash well enough or had finally been exposed enough that I had more of a reaction than I have in the past. It took a couple days, but I developed a few blisters, first on my left arm, and then more substantial blisters on my right.
For the first couple days, I put chickweed salve on the blisters – that had been plenty to dry the poison ivy out when I had a little bit of it in the spring. When that wasn’t helping, I started putting hydrocortisone on it a few times a day. That helped more, but it was healing very slowly. When I had my annual physical about a week later, my PCP gave me a prescription cream to use.
I’m glad I have it just in case, but I’ll be more diligent in using pre-contact treatments as well as being more careful when I’m washing up after I finish yardwork.