Friday, May 23, 2008

Poison Ivy Warning

Updated 3/2017-- photos and all links removed as many are no longer active and it's easier than checking each one.

I love to walk in the woods with my dog. I am lucky to have a neighbor who has a trail through her woods around her pond that she encourages us to use. This time of year I have to watch out for poison ivy. In the picture here you can see the poison ivy (leaves of three) intermingled with some Virginia Creeper (five leaves). I find both very pretty.

If you are like me, then you may wish to check out this product, Zanfel, that Dr Paul Auerbach wrote about recently.

Zanfel™ is a soap mixture of ethoxylate and sodium lauroyl sarcosinate surfactants. When "activated" (worked into a paste that can be spread effectively on the skin), the soap is able to bind urushiol and thus allow it to be removed from the skin by rinsing.
Zanfel™ is unique with respect to poison ivy/oak/sumac remedies in that it is supposed to remove resin from the skin after the rash has appeared. In one study, this effect was present even at 144 hours post exposure. However, it seems logical that at some point post exposure, urushiol is no longer present in the skin and that the allergic contact dermatitis (manifested as redness, itching, swelling, and blisters), would not be lessened by Zanfel™, unless it has some direct anti-inflammatory properties
Leaves of Three, Let Them Be: If Only It Were That Easy; Medscape Article, May 28, 2004; Patricia L Jackson Allen, MS, RN, PNP, FAAN


Unknown said...

One of the other things that helps to some degree is "Ivy Block" - it allegedly keeps the urushiol from binding to the skin.
Also, TechNu is reported to work as well as Zanfel, but is significantly less expensive.§ion=1

rlbates said...

Thanks for the information.

30 years from Darling said...

I have only had poison ivy once. I got it in Arkansas. Once was quite enough!

Poison Oak, I got frequently as a child in California. However, I deserve no sympathy, as I was a brat.
It was believed by our district to be contagious.
The itching of the rash did not bother me.
We had a nice little patch in our pasture that our dad could not quite get rid of no matter what he did.
In the spring, when school would get on my nerves I'd get on my parents nerves by going to purposefully play in the poison oak. I can still hear my sister yelling "MOM! PEGGI'S IN THE POISON OAK AGAIN!!!"
Nothing could be done to stop it ... regardless of disciplien, I was out of school. Puppydog eyes usually kept punishment down to a minimum with Dad ...
*sheepish grin*

No, neither of my kids have EVER pulled any such stunt. I'm far ornerier than they'd ever think to be.


Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...

Thanks for the info - I had no idea there wre prodcuts like ths out there.

Brings bak memories of a particularly bad case years ago requiring a steroid taper....

Just a little snarky said...

Hi. Your main photo for this blog entry shows a mix of Virginia creeper and poison ivy vines. VC looks a lot like PI because young VC shoots have 3 leaves, and they both grow in the same conditions.

Anyway, for a quick cure I rub crushed touch-me-not leaves on the affected area. Works like a charm. This also offers instant relief from stinging nettle. I wonder if it works for bee stings too?

Go to Google Images for images of touch-me-not, they have really funky looking flowers.