The above video gives you an idea of just how infested the wild area at the back of my yard is with poison ivy. Or was. It was shot on May 3, 2014. I have used herbicide on it a couple of times since then, and last year it didn’t look quite this bad. But it’s still there.
(By the way, using herbicide is against my principles. But I have compromised them in the face of this threat.)
On Saturday, March 12 of this year, my wife and I did extensive work clearing brush, fallen limbs and vines out of this area. We did not see a single poison ivy leaf during this operation. But we did pull up a few things by the roots, and the plants must have the poisonous oil on them even when there are no leaves.
My wife’s arms broke out the next day. I thought maybe I had escaped, but by Tuesday my forearms were practically covered with the rash. After several days trying unsuccessfully to fight it with conventional, over-the-counter weapons, I went nuclear — I called my allergist to get a prescription of prednisone.
He prescribed a someone more prolonged course than if we were treating, say, asthma. And I got better. But as soon as the prednisone ran out, I started breaking out again — this time, weirdly, on my legs. (My wife, without using prednisone, was pretty much all better by this time.)
So after a few days of that, I went to see my allergist and got another course of prednisone, this time even more spread out, over 13 days — starting with three days at 60 mg.
After that, I felt a lot better, for a week or so. Then this week, the maddening itch on my legs was back — not so much with a rash, but with dark discoloration under the skin in the affected area.
The only thing I can figure is that last weekend, for the first time in a couple of weeks, I wore my favorite weekend pants, the same pair of khaki cargo pants I had been wearing the day I was exposed.
I’ve washed these pants in HOT water (I usually set the washer on “cool”) a couple of times since the incident. Can the oils really survive that? Apparently so.
Anyone have any advice? I’m sick of this…