Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Last week I did some work in the yard, cleaning up a perennial bed outside the garage. When I was finished I had two tubs full of weeds, bloomed-out iris fans, and grass that was growing where it wasn't supposed to.

The net day two bumps appeared on my left arm. It looked like poison ivy, but I KNOW there was none in the bed I worked in. Two days after that a cluster of bumps appeared on my right leg by my knee. Each day since that time I've found a bump or two somewhere on my body, even in places that were covered up during the original gardening.

Is it poison ivy or something else? In the end, it doesn't really matter what's causing my rash. The areas on my arm and leg itch horribly, and this week's sticky, humid weather makes it worse. It's even been waking me up in the middle of the night. Turning to my friend Google to research remedies for poison ivy rashes, I found the very informative Website for the Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Information Center. One of the site's pages was about home remedies. About halfway down the list was the suggestion to use white vinegar. Since I have a gallon jug of the stuff in the pantry, I thought that I'd give it a try; today I got relief from a rash by applying white vinegar.

I soaked a sponge in the vinegar and applied it to the spots on my arm. It stung a little bit, but the itch definitely stopped. I moved the sponge to the spots on my leg. It stung A LOT, but also stopped the itching. I let it set on the area for about five minutes, then applied some calamine lotion. I was itch-free for several hours, which is the longest period in the past week. After a walk the itch reappeared, but I repeated the procedure again.

I may end up smelling like a vinaigrette, but I don't care!


  1. Whenever we go for a walk in the park I'm always looking for poison ivy. They have signs up that say it is present, but I've never seen it in real life - just hand-drawn pictures. I want to know for sure what it looks like!

  2. I have poison ivy in my backyard - it grows out from under the cedar hedges, so it's hard to get rid of. I also have innocent looking weeds that give me a rash if I touch them. No idea what they are, but if I touch them I have to wash immediately. The reaction doesn't last, though.

  3. I thought I had poison ivy or poison oak a couple of years ago, but the steroids did not provide relief, so I went to the DR and was told that I have pityriasis. Nothing to do but treat the symptoms and it will eventually go away. I seem to get it every spring, so I think it may be related to my allergies. I have it right now and it is making me miserable...will try the vinegar.

  4. Sydney-you're fortunate not to know what poison ivy looks like. That means you've not experienced it yet!

    Colette-a friend said that many other plants could cause contact dermatitis. If I keep getting this rash I'll have to do some investigation on the subject.

    Kathy-I wasn't familiar with pityriasis so I Googled it. It sounds miserable. If you go click on the Website in my post there's pages with all kinds of homemade remedies.

  5. Need Olive Oil?
    Sorry, just kiddin'
    Glad to know that my favorite housecleaning product is good for an itch too!