Currently have a touch on my left arm. I fucking hate poison ivy.
Years of summercamp and hiking as a kid and all my friends got it except me so I figured I was immune and probably back then I was.
More recently I bought a new property. It's hot and I'm tearing shirtless at vines along the perimeter fence and hadn't even thought of the possibility of PI. Later I notice these welts. I thought them scratches. I had company come to stay and see my new place and they kept commenting. The welts became more pronounced during my company's stay. It's all over me. Head to toe covered in it. Within a few days it starts to itch.
I probably should have been hospitalized but I toughed it out. I forget how long, I think about two months for that itching to stop. That's the most intense itch I could imagine. I clipped my nails as short as I could so I wouldn't damage myself badly but wound up scabby anyway. Not pretty. I was popping antihistamines to sleep
I read hot water releases the histamine from the skin so I tried that for temporary relief.
Since then I've spent hours upon hours to get rid of that stuff. I've got about an acre and I've been over every square inch of it a number of times. At first I was finding about 30 plants every time I looked. After a year of this, the other week after our first good rains I found 17 plants in a week, down considerably but I want to get it down to near zero.
I'm near a huge wilderness and probably the birds are dropping seeds. I can tell about how long a plant was in the ground by the bulb on it. I think I've got most of the mature ones and as I eventually mulch in the property I should be able to control the situation well enough. I want to get a dog but I'm nervous about it getting on his feet and him bringing it into the house where I'm often barefoot.
Forget about sprays. They're bullshit. All they do is kill the PI on top of the ground, even though they advertise the root. They might destroy part of the root, but there's one type of PI with a bulb and I suspect that poison does nothing to the bulb because as much as I sprayed they kept coming up.
For now I've got a PI spade and a PI garbage can in the garden and as soon as I spot one I stop whatever I'm doing and get rid of it. I handle that shit with more care than medical waste. The infection on my arm currently I think is from some oil that must have been on a shrub where I was gardening from back when I tore up the vines.
Josh is right about the oil but I haven't heard of anything that stops it once you start itching. One thing misunderstood is that it doesn't spread once you've got it. sometimes it seems to spread but that's just areas originally contaminated but which hadn't kicked in yet.
Oh, and here's an important step which I wasn't aware of when I first got it. Wash with soap but DONOT WASH WITH HOT WATER when originally contaminated. Use only cold to get the oil off because hot water opens the pores and allows more of the oil inside your skin DOH!http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urushiol
Scientific Quote: "Nasty shit stays stable for about five fucking years."
found along my fence
PI dug up showing bulb