Monday, July 28, 2008

Wasp Stings and Mosquito Bites and Poison Ivy, Oh My!

Ahhhh, the joys of summer! I'm feeling like I've been stricken with a plague! Thankfully, my arm is completely back to normal after the wasp sting. I'm good there. However, the mosquitoes are getting re-acquainted with their Ole' Buddy Stephanie. "Hey Herb! Remember this ole' gal? We're gonna have a feast tonight!" I must taste really sweet or something because they've always loved me. In fact, Edward says he doesn't even need bug spray when I'm around. He says I'm his bug repellent. Anyway, after weeding in the garden last Saturday for a mere five minutes, I returned with 34 mosquito bites on my left leg and 37 on my right - from the knee down on each leg. And that was at 1:00 in the blazing sun! Forget going down there in the cooler evenings!

As if I wasn't already itchy enough, I've picked up poison ivy somewhere along the way. Now, normally that's Edward's affliction du jour. He is terribly susceptible to it. When he was younger he would swell like a balloon, sometimes having his eyes swell nearly shut. For me, I've prided myself in only having it once in my life, and I think it was a tiny patch on my pinkie. Every time Edward has ever had it, I've never gotten it. Until now. Yay me! I was itching before Drew, Elizabeth and I went blueberry/blackberry picking Saturday. The week before, we did go out to a state park for a little while (Elizabeth went camping with our friends, the Williams, and when we picked her up at the campsite, we stayed to roast hot dogs, make s'mores, and visit for the evening), but I stayed in a chair by the fire the entire time - never venturing out into the woods. Who knows how I got this. It started out as one tiny little itchy place on my neck. I just figured it was another mosquito bite. Within a few days I was itching on my legs and thighs, all around my neck, on my chest and back, arms, and a little spot on my chin. Drew also has it on his arms and now neck and side. I asked Edward if his was poison ivy, and he said, "Yes." I asked him about mine (before it had spread so much) and he answered the same way. Nice.

So last night I did some searching on the Internet about how to get rid of it. Here are some suggestions:

The only over-the-counter poison ivy medication which contains the urushiol killing mineral spirits is called Technu. This stuff works wonders to kill the oil that causes the skin infection, thereby also preventing spread of the oil to other parts of the body. So, buy Technu, and follow all the instructions and warnings on its label.
Isn't that the name of a video game?

If you can't afford to buy Technu, or are just too cheap, then there is another option for the desperate: paint thinner.
Um, won't that burn?

You can put tooth paste on the infected areas and let it sit for 5-10 min. Do this twice a day for 3 days and it will go away.
And your arm will smell minty fresh, too!

Apply cool, wet compresses. Moisten a clean washcloth in cool water and apply to skin for several minutes. Re-moisten the cloth as needed to keep it cool. Using cold whole milk instead of water has proven more effective for some people, and an ice compress can relieve particularly nasty swelling or burning.
Do you now how expensive milk is these days?! Heck no!

Swimming in a pool with chlorine may assist. The chlorine cleans and disinfects the rash. Spend as much time as possible in the pool. Try at least 3-4 hours at a public pool. After doing this the itching will usually stop completely, it will start to go away within days, and will barely spread.
Now you're talking my language!

Bleach also seems to work well when it comes to treating poison ivy. If the poison is on your hand, find a small bowl and soak your hand in it for several minutes. It will sting quite a bit, but it would clean it right out.
And then if that doesn't do the trick, get a blow torch and burn the first 27 layers of skin off. That should make the rash disappear completely!

rub gasoline on all affected areas, then rinse well with soap and water……
And DO NOT light a match! Yikes!

OK this is a really gross way to get rid of poison but it works. it is from the mountains and my grandparents told me about it and how to do it. when u have the poison ivy/oak/sumac then urinate in a plastic container and put a washrag in it and wash over the affected spot, once applied evenly wait till it dries and then go take a shower and wash over spot really good so you get the urine off. i used to have poison ivy really bad but now that i have tried this method i haven't had it in years
Okay, okay, my poison ivy isn't THAT BAD! I'm sure three out of my four children would be happy to help me with this remedy!

If you can find good, old fashioned lye soap, scrub the heck out of the affected area. It will burn when you are doing it, but it dries it up faster than anything I have tried.
The next time I run into Pa and Ma Engalls, I'll be sure to ask to borrow theirs.

Find Jewel Weed, instructions for applying the remedy can be found here:
Um, I think that's illegal every where except California. I'd better not.

Use common sense when trying home remedies. Some of the suggestions you may hear or read about may actually be harmful, so exercise caution and ask your doctor’s advice before trying anything questionable.
You think? Thanks for the permission.

I discovered there are some really weird people in the world. Anyway, I'm thinking this fluffy, pasty white, rash-laden body is gonna look mighty fine on the beach next week! I hope I don't run into any blind people. If they touch my skin they might think I'm a walking billboard, advertising in Braille!