I’ve never had to deal with poison ivy (knock on wood) my friend Ami has never had to deal with lice (knock on even more wood) and as we were on the phone this morning we debated which was worse. Obviously both are pretty awful but she needed a little perspective as her middle child was struck hard with poison ivy last week and so she needed that one thing, that “Well, at least it’s not lice!” mantra. She had told me earlier in the week that her oldest daughter had found her way into poison ivy but didn’t seem affected as badly as the year before. Then when I checked on her today it was not only as bad, it was worse. Poor kids eyes swelled so much she couldn’t even open them.
After talking to Ami for a bit she asked me to pass along some information to you, gentle readers she would call you, about dealing with poison ivy.
First of all, some kids are more immune to poison ivy than others. Her oldest son was the only kid to make it through a week of scout camp without a case of poison ivy, whereas her daughter (the one pictured) can just look at it and swell to monumental proportions. Since every kid is different she stressed the importance of knowing when to go to the doctor. While last year’s outbreak was slightly less intense, this years required a doctor’s visit with a sturdy dose of steroids. Her doctor had told her “As soon as it spreads to the face, that’s when you know it’s time to go in.”
Second, there is a OTC wash that every family should keep on hand. It’s called Tecnu and it can be bought for around $10 a bottle. It washes off the invisible oils of poison ivy and poison sumac so that an infestation can’t spread or worsen. Even if you’re not sure you’ve been affected, it’s a good idea to use it since you never know who may be more sensitive to the oils. (Side note: My best friend’s husband once got into poison ivy, he then transferred it to my best friend, however she was only infected on her boobs and bum. *ehem*) If you live anywhere near poison ivy, this is a must have product in your medicine cabinet, especially if you know you or your kids are more sensitive to it. (Second side note: Her daughter does not have sensitive skin otherwise, just when it comes to poisonous plants.)
Slather them with calamine, dose them up with Benadryl, plan to do loads of laundry, keep sheets under the affected child and be sure to have a cat, cats are great. (So the cat is optional but both Ami and I highly recommend them.) ‘Tis the season for poison ivy and poison sumac, take it from Ami, be prepared and if it does strike you? Take it from me, it’s better than lice.
You can find my friend Ami at her blog Bunkers Down. She’s wildly funny. (And the above photo of her miserable child is courtesy of her, used with permission.)