Most of the time, I love living in the country. There are just a few things that I don’t like about country life. Ticks, chiggers, and plants that cause rashes! Recently, I had family coming out to visit and we’d had our mower down for a while and had to order parts for it. So, I ended up mowing the lawn with a little push lawn mower. No big deal! I’m wearing boots with jeans over the tops. No problems! What could possibly happen besides ticks or chiggers? I mean yeah, right now, we have a ton of tiny seed ticks on the farm, but aside from them?
Poison ivy! That’s what else can go wrong! Despite having long jeans covering my boot tops, I managed a nice case of poison ivy. There are several ways of treating poison ivy.
I used Epsom salts twice a day, and put Calamine on it four times daily as directed. Unfortunately, my rash continued to spread. Aside from calamine, there are a few other things that my family likes to do for pois0n ivy. Epsom salts!!! Epsom salts are practically a homesteaders best friend! Aside from the fact that they are great for sore muscles, they also will help ease the itch from tick bites, chiggers, and even help dry up poison ivy. 30 minutes once or twice a day in a tub full of Epsom salts will do wonders to dry up poison ivy without being very harsh on your skin. The other thing which most people know about is Calamine lotion to help with the itching.
Unfortunately, just like your skin can absorb essential oils which can genuinely help you, I learned the hard way that sometimes, it can also absorb poison ivy oil. Which causes systemic poison ivy. Yeppers! Oh joy! Mine went systemic. At that point, do yourself a big favour if the poison ivy doesn’t respond to over the counter treatments in a few days time, and go see a doctor. You may need steroids and a cortisone shot to stop the reaction.
So, how do you identify poison ivy? I know I thought I was very good at it. As a matter of fact, I was blaming my horse for getting me into weeds on the side of the trail when I had a novice rider in the front of his saddle, and I was doubling on his rear. I know that my dad is an avid gardener and is generally exceptionally good at identifying plants. When I decided to talk about the joys of poison ivy here on this blog, I took pictures of what I believed was the culprit causing my rash. This is what I showed my dad:
Dad told me that this is a plant commonly confused with poison ivy. This plant is called Virginia Creeper.
This was the other picture I showed him of this plant:
That’s just another Virginia Creeper there. Not a plant that causes rashes. Just bears an unfortunate resemblance to one.
This plant that we found in the yard where I had been mowing, turned out to be the culprit of my woes:
As you can see, both plants have the leaves attached at a nodule. But the poison ivy looks a little more innocent in my book than the creepy creeper.
My own education in homesteading continues. Hope you enjoy learning along with me,.