Tell That to an Old Wife

It was just a week or so ago that She of We was working about in her yard and came into contact with some poison ivy to which she usually has a fairly severe reaction.  She rushed to wash off as much of the oil as fast as possible and suffered only a mild case.  This led to some talk of the oft told remedies for skin irritations and do they actually work?  We couldn’t let that discussion go without sharing it with you.

The first one we thought of for treating poison ivy was baking soda.  Actually, baking soda is supposed to work for a variety of skin issues not to mention stomach issues.  There’s probably come connection there.  Back to the skin, apparently baking soda will neutralize the oils in poison ivy and will relieve the itch of it.  To be doubly certain of it working, make a paste of the baking soda not with water but with vinegar.

A newer to us old wives’ tale involving poison ivy is to coat the area with olive oil.  We’re not so sure about this one.  Since the offending agent of poison ivy is an oil one would think that adding more oil to it would make it spread.  Those who support this action say the oil in olive oil lifts the oil from the poison ivy off the skin and makes it wash away easier.

Many people swear by grease cutting soaps, including mechanics’ soaps to lift the oil off the skin.  For those who don’t have fully stocked garages, Dawn dish soap appears to be very effective in removing the poison ivy oil from the skin.

For as much a reaction to poison ivy that She encounters, He has the same issues with bee stings.  His reactions can be so severe that his favorite remedy is to run away whenever bees show up.  Although it’s hard to run away from poison ivy, prevention is still the best treatment.  Wearing long sleeves, long pants, and gloves are the best remedy any old wife has come up with yet.  Not to be completely outdone, however, there are those who would also encourage a coating of a heavy barrier cream like zinc oxide over the skin to provide a protective lawyer between the skin and the plant.

So now that spring is here and it’s time to put our yards in order for a beautiful summer, go on out there and yank those weeds.  But remember, it can be a jungle out there.

*** A big word of CAUTION when dealing with poison ivy, bee stings, insect bites, or any allergic reaction – these can be deadly.  Home remedies only work if you are dealing with mild skin reactions.  If you become short of breath, experience swelling of the tongue, neck, or throat, or are dizzy, call 911 and seek professional help immediately.  ***

Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?


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