As I mentioned yesterday, I appear to be highly allergic to poison ivy and have somehow come in contact with the foliage. I blame my neighbor for allowing their side of the fence to become overgrown with grapevine (and other assorted varieties of vine apparently). About three weeks ago, I’d had enough of the aggressive plant after I discovered that several particularly hardy vines had made it up and over the fence, across our backyard, through several hedges, and were now attacking the driveway. I spent a couple satisfying hours yanking and hacking and tossing the vines away. Success! I also promptly showered off (a clue!).
The next week, I noticed that a large bunch of vines had somehow made their way down the fence again. Perhaps they’d come loose and simply fallen or maybe the demon plant had launched a new attack on my yard. Regardless, I promptly chopped down the offending vines and went about my day. I did not shower off (a clue!).
A week after that, I noticed my first angry red patch. I thought it was an ant bite or something. When I realized it was more of a blister than a bite, and that more were popping up, I wracked my brain trying to find what I was allergic to. I hadn’t switched laundry detergents or soaps or any of the usual allergic-reaction suspects. In fact, the only new thing in my house was a set of curtains. Surely I couldn’t be allergic to that, could I? After some more googling, I realized these blisters and itchy, scaly patches of red looked an awful lot like poison ivy rashes.
For a week, I self-medicated with Benadryl cream and Cortizone cream. It was actually working pretty well, especially while I was at work (minimal arm movement + freezing cold office helps keep the itching at bay). However, by the start of the second week, with a new wave of blisters coming in, I finally went to my doctor. She confirmed the poison ivy diagnosis in seconds and prescribed a prescription strength steroid cream.
I am still finding new blisters almost every day. Earlier in the week, I thought I was re-exposing myself in my own house. This triggered a massive cleaning crusade. Nothing was safe. Everything from our comforter to our kitchen towels went through the wash. Even Jasmine did not escape the Great Cleaning of 2015 (much to her displeasure), though I assure you that she was hand-washed. After all that, new blisters still appeared and I was losing my mind trying to figure out what was causing them. That’s when I found out that the blisters and rash can appear anywhere from four hours to three WEEKS after the initial exposure. So it’s entirely possible that the fresh blisters on my legs came from a brush against the ivy TWO WHOLE WEEKS ago. Couple that with the fact that the blisters and rash take two to three weeks to clear up, and you’re looking at almost two whole months of itching and redness and medicinal creams to try and clear up this reaction.
I so was not kidding about that haz-mat decontamination shower yesterday. In fact, I’m thinking of having one installed when we have our floors redone.