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Author Topic: Can Poison Ivy "Get in your Bloodstream"?
Atlanta Jake
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I am currently recovering from a very severe case of Poison Ivy (or Poison Oak, or Sumac, not sure). It has caused the skin both of my forearms to blister (blisters the size of dimes and nickels!) and the normal rsah was an unbroken blanket from elbows to wrists (thank bob I wore gloves!).

Anyway, several people who have seen it have told me that a case this sever can result in the poison ivy "getting into your bloodstream". This will supposedly cause me any of a number of problems...
  • It will cause me to be hyper-sensitive to poison ivy in the future, causing me to break out from just being in the area of the plant
  • I will break out whenever I get overheated (geez! I'm a firefighter in a town where 100 degrees F. and 95% humidity is a normal summer day!)
  • Or, I will break out every spring, even when no poison ivy plants are present!

I suspect that what people are trying to describe is akin to Chemical Hypersensitivity, but the only term they seem to use is "getting into the blood/bloodstream".

Has anyone heard of this? Is there anything there?

Atlanta "itchy... itchy... itchy..." Jake

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Make sure you check out the Grody Poison Ivy Skin Rash Hall of Fame

I don't think the blood poisoning occurs because of the poison ivy itself, but rather is secondary to it, caused by the open blisters becoming infected.

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Atlanta Jake
Xboxing Day


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AnglRdr, What I'm referring to is a belief that the rash will re-occur year after year, with little or no provocation. Not blood poisoning caused by infected wounds.

Jake

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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I don't see how that is possible, since it is contact dermatitis; I think the "contact" portion is crucial.

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Spam & Cookies-mmm
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Poison ivy myths

quote:
Myth 4. Poison ivy enters the blood stream and can be carried to other parts of the body where it can outbreak later.

False. Poison ivy rash is caused by contact with an oil (uroshiol) from the poison ivy plant. The oil attaches to the outer horny skin cells and the layer of living cells below. Washing with soap and water to remove the oil is an effective control, but such washing normally has to be done within minutes to avoid any rash at all. In addition, washing must be far more thorough than we normally wash our hands in order to be effective.

Outbreaks on other body areas means the oil was transferred to that area from another body part, by articles of clothing, tools, or pets that held the same oil. Remember, it's the contact with the uroshiol oil that causes the reaction. This oil is essentially nonvolatile and can remain on articles and clothing for as much as a year.



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Tokuguava Bookayasu
The Red and the Green Stamps


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[I-can't-help-myself-hijack]

'My girlfriend and I were fooling around in the woods one day, and I don't know how she did it, but she got poison ivy on her brain...

She said it helped if she thought about sandpaper...'

[/stop-me-before-I-hijack-again!]

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WonderWoman
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Not really on-topic but not really off-topic either: I once got poison ivy in my lungs. How? My husband and I were camping and instead of buying a lot of wood for our campfire at the store we only bought a few logs and then foraged in the wooded area around the campground for large sticks and kindling material. Apparently we burned some wood that had poison ivy oil on it because the next morning we both broke out in head-to-toe rashes and my lungs hurt like hell.
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Made of Stardust
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When I was younger, I was playing at the beach -- and it was only later, when my entire face swelled up and I had trouble breathing, did anyone realize I'd been playing with poison ivy plants and touched my face repeatedly. I had to go to the emergency room and whatnot, and I tend to think it was a bad reaction, but I've not gotten a single case since, despite being near poison ivy.

Although there's a nice growth of poison ivy outside the drive-through at the bank . . . needless to say, I still keep the window shut. [Wink]

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Simon Says
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quote:
Originally posted by Atlanta Jake, in the stacks:
AnglRdr, What I'm referring to is a belief that the rash will re-occur year after year, with little or no provocation. Not blood poisoning caused by infected wounds.

Jake

From Spam's link, I think that this is a very important piece:

"Myth 6. Some individuals are so sensitive, they can get a rash from being near poison ivy even though they don't touch it.

False. Uroshiol [oil from poison ivy] is not volatile and only becomes airborne when droplets are suspended on particles of smoke. Burning poison ivy plants can send microscopic droplets of uroshiol into the air.

Uroshiol can be picked up from pets, tools, and clothing. If you used gloves to pull those weeds, were you careful how you removed those gloves? Did you pet Sparky after his romp in the weeds? Did you handle those dirty jeans your husband wore as he mowed the field? Wouldn't it be great if uroshiol were bright, fluorescent orange?"

My ex could get it when he mowed outside on the riding lawn mower and not have touched any directly. Just the particles in the air. He also got it frequently from our dog.

I, however claim to be one of the "immune." I've never eaten it or anything to gain this immunity, but as a child I used to drink goat's milk and our goats ate poison ivy. I've never had poison ivy - not once. My sisters, who didn't drink the goat's milk, are susceptible to it. Now...would I go out and roll in it or handle it with bare hands? Oh, hell no! But I do think that I've been exposed several times and not gotten it. On the occasions that my ex got it from the dog, I had played with the dog just as much that day and done yard work with him when he got it.

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Christopher
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I'm also immune, but I'd never push my luck. Where I grew up in the country there was a bit of country wisdom that in order to give your kids immunity to poison ivy you should make a drink of it and feed it to them.

I would never do that either!

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Shumana
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Probably or maybe likely... oh, okay completely off-topic, but it sounds similar to the shingles warning that I heard incessantly for years.

When I was 18 I had a horrid, incredibly painful case of shingles banding my torso (ouch!!!). After taking months to clear up, everyone from my mother to the most vague of acquaintances told me I must avoid children with chicken pox and adults with shingles at all costs or I would... not may... but absolutely would have another case of them of increased severity (not possible in IMO).

After caring for my two kids and 9 nieces and nephews in the midst of their chicken pox, and taking care of my "shingled" grandmother later in her life, I have yet to have another case of shingles (thank heavens).

Anyway... I guess my point is... um... nothing?... or maybe just that I don't necessarily believe in the "hypersensitivity" scenario in all cases.

Yea, yea, that's it. *sigh* [fish]

Shu... if you scratch it it'll just itch worse!... mana

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DesertRat
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Off-topic alert...

It's nice to be immune, since I am so completely oblivious I never even realize I'm in it. I can think of more than one occasion where, as part of a group, we've ended up smack in the middle of stuff at some point... of course, I had no clue (nor did everyone else) until everyone was miserable EXCEPT me.

I still have no idea what it even looks like.

(But then I have a bad allergic reaction to GRASS... explain THAT!)

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James Maxey
The Red and the Green Stamps


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When I was a teenager, I helped my father clear brush, and at one point I was handling a lot of wilted and dried poison ivy. I was wearing work gloves, a long sleeve shirt, and long pants and work boots. Alas, I wasn't wearing a face mask. That night, my face began to swell up, to the point that I couldn't open my eyes any more, and my whole body began to itch. I was taken to the emergency room and told that the poison ivy had "got into my bloodstream" via breathing in dust from the dead poison ivy. This couldn't have been blood poisoning from an infection, since I hadn't yet broken out in blisters or had any broken skin. But, boy howdy, within 24 hours, I was a mass of blisters, head to toe, in places I couldn't possibly have accidentally touched, like the dead center of my back. I actually had blisters on the bottom of my feet and could barely walk for several days. I ran fevers for several days also. It took weeks before I fully recovered.

So, I certainly had a reaction to poison ivy that went far beyond a simple contact reaction. But, long term, it didn't have any real consequences. I don't have recurring breakouts due to heat, spring, or simply being near the plants. When I have had breakouts, I've usually been able to figure out the source. The one exception is that this year (right now, in fact) I've had an outbreak on the back of my right elbow, and no place else. I'm baffled as to what I was touching with my elbow and no other part of my body, and the outbreak occurred on a day where I had spent all day driving on the interstate, six or seven hours in a car. I wasn't even close to any plants that I can think of that day. Wierd.

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Crackrzz
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This makes alot of sense! I always thought I was more allergic to some cats than others. Maybe it's that some of them are let outside, and go near poison ivy! Of course, washing my hands doesn't always solve it. Hmm. But, like it said, you have to do it right away.

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-Tabby, on how she cut her lip while shaving her legs.

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