Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pacific poison-oak
Toxicodendron diversilobum

I've also seen this species called Rhus diversiloba, but regardless of the scientific name they both refer to the poison-oak found on the Pacific coast. See links from any poison-oak indexed post for more information.

Our local poison-oak is remarkably red right now and stands out against the dried grasses.

Coincidentally, my husband's poison-oak rash had just started coming out the night before from, we assume, the previous weekend's camping adventure without showers. Usually after trail running, he washes immediately with tecnu, and if he does get a rash it is very minor. I credit my almost always wearing long pants when I go hiking to never having gotten poison-oak. Knock on wood!

The rash initially looks like individualized, raised red bumps less than a cm in diameter. Since this was a very bad rash, it looked like he had been stung about 50 times on the back of one leg. He says it feels just as itchy as a yellowjacket sting, but without the initial sting and lasting much longer.

ps - By the Monday after this post, the rash had turned very bright red and started oozing (very gross!). We purchased the over-the-counter Zanfel for over $40 for a 1 oz. tube (very expensive stuff). It's a tedious process of repeated applications and washing, but he claims it helps with the itching better than 1% hydrocortisone cream.

pss - It's now been 10 days since the rash first came out. It's dried up a bit and the red has spread outwardly from the initial bumps. He says it has finally stopped itching. Not fun!

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