So I see that some people insist poison ivy cannot return months later and others say it can. And who is right? Absolutely the people who say it can return are right. Last summer I had poison ivy around my ankles. Many months later, in the winter, a milder version of the rash returned. I was not wearing the same clothes, not sleeping on the same sheets, and not touching anything I had used outdoors. I was not working outdoors at all! Moreover, even now, a year later, though I don't have the rash around my ankles, if I scratch my skin in that area, the red bumps and the itching will return.
Currently I am recovering from poison ivy rash primarily on my face and neck--unrelated to last year's episode. I have taken Prednizone for a week (and never again will I take a stereoid! No wonder all those NFL players are killing people). I have washed all my clothes, sheets, etc., in hot water twice. The rash on my face has almost disappeared, but I have little outbreaks here and there, in odd places, like a bump on my arm or on my back. But I have not worked outdoors in more than 2 weeks. The poison ivy--as someone else said--is surely in my system. I wish I could prove it so that people like me, tormented by this vicious plant, wouldn't look for answers and receive erroneous ones from so-called professionals.
What has worked better for me than anything is white vinegar. It stings on the bumps and openings in the skin, but the stinging is not worse than the itching. I apply it liberally with drenched cottonballs until my skin is dripping and I wait for it to dry naturally. Then I rub "Itch" all over the now-dry area. There may be better methods, but the vinegar dries it out, makes thick scabs (hideous but effective), the scabs fall off fairly soon (so thick they make a plopping sound when they fall! ugh! gross!). I've been able to sleep with this method, maybe having to get up once in the night to reapply the vinegar or just grope for the Itch and rub some in--whereas last year, using other treatments, I could not sleep.
Other "treatments"--Vick's Vapo-Rub, Clorox (so good for your liver), cortizone creams, and other over-the-counter meds have not done so well. Haven't tried tobacco, but I'm an x-smoker and if there's anything that makes me want to smoke, it's lying awake all night scratching--so I had to forget that.
A pox take the next creep who writes that "the best treatment is avoidance." (I hope you get to dance to the tune of poison ivy at least once. The plant is everywhere!)
I hope this helps some other poor sufferer! Itchy-Scratchy
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