Two years ago I got my first ever case of poison ivy. And it was a doozy. Here’s how it happened.
Having never reacted to poison ivy in the past, I didn’t think twice about going outside on a hot day to weed, in shorts and a tank top. The hill leading up to our front yard is covered in all kinds of ivy, including the poison kind. Even though I know that rhyme “leaves of three, let them be” to warn you of poison ivy, I still grabbed and pulled them out with the other ivy and regular weeds.
I distinctly remember one, shall we say, comedic moment when I was pulling hard on a bunch of weeds, and I lost my grip and fell face forward into the ivy. My hands stopped my face from hitting the ground but my arms and legs ended up, well, knee deep in what turned out to be poison ivy.
About a week later I started scratching.
The poison ivy got so bad on my arms and legs that I ended up having to be put on prednisone, a steroid. I’ve still got scars on my legs from those lesions, that hung around for what felt like weeks.
These days if the urge to garden hits me, here are three frugal ways I get the job done without catching poison ivy:
- Garden in long sleeves and long pants. While the best antidote to poison ivy is avoiding it all together, sometimes you’ve just got to get out there and weed. That’s why these days I will only weed in a long-sleeved shirt, long pants tucked into my socks, and closed toe shoes. I’m sure I look really fashionable!
- Wash with Dawn dishwashing liquid after weeding. The reason that people get poison ivy is that they get urushiol, the oil in poison ivy plants, on their skin. The Centers for Disease Control says that if you can get that oil off your skin within 10 minutes of your being exposed to it, you can lessen the chances that you’ll develop a rash. Dawn, it turns out, can destroy urushiol. Sure, it’s great for washing dishes but remember how it helped clean up animals after oil spills? I’ve even taken to bathing the dog in Dawn if I think he’s gotten into poison ivy.
- Find someone else to do the weeding in hot weather. Even though it may not be frugal to hire someone for landscaping, at this point I think everyone in our family is allergic to poison ivy. And I’d rather pay someone to take care of weeding poison ivy than pay for it in our misery and doctor’s appointment co-pays.
If you’ve got surefire ways to deal with poison ivy frugally, I’d love to have you post a comment on the blog.