Saturday, October 16, 2010


If nothing else, California's ubiquitous poison-oak serves as a beautiful autumn (and spring) color addition. Our local black-tailed deer supposedly eat poison-oak. For more information, check out the embedded links I've provided above, or check out my previous poison-oak posts.

If you asked my husband, who is an avid trail runner (always wearing shorts with exposed legs, I might add), I'm guessing he'd say poison-oak and yellowjackets are the two worst things about California. He was born in SLO here in CA but was raised in Canada and Washington state. While trail running, he'd prefer the immediate pain of blackberries, as is found plenty in WA, versus the 1 day to 2 weeks delay of the onset of the poison oak rash. He questions the evolutionary advantages of a defensive mechanism that comes out weeks after exposure. We know friends who have gotten the rash on private parts (er, I didn't really want to ask for more details) and boys who seem to like rolling around in it as a last ditch effort to avoid going to school for a week. Many local parks and reserves have prominent signs warning about touching the poison-oak, even the bare winter twigs. If you're not familiar with it, it can be challenging to identify based on a very common 3 leaf configuration. Not everyone experiences the same kind of rash, if at all. I'll admit, I've never experienced the "fun" that is poison-oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac... and I'm a little fearful my boasts may do me in, so I'm careful around the stuff.


biobabbler said...

Nice. Yes, it can be beautiful. And a major attack and my body becomes crazy colors, as well. =)

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Ooh, in your line of work, I'd imagine you get poison oak colors regularly.

texwisgirl said...

I've taken an herbal supplement made from the toxins of the plant and it really really built up my immunity to poison ivy. I used to get HORRIBLE outbreaks (within a day I'd have bleeding sores and would have to go to the emergency clinic for a steroid shot and prescription-strength creams). Anyway, thought I'd pass it along: Rhus Tox PC or Rhus Toxicodendron - available in pill or pellet form at Whole Foods and similar places. Take it every day for a couple of weeks to build up your immune system, then just every so often. It really saved my life as I'm surrounded by it here on our place and often wander into the wooded areas around the pond with bare legs and sandals.

Second product - use if you've think you've been exposed to wash up: Tecnu. It's a liquid soap that will strip off the oils from the skin to prevent further spreading and will diminish the outbreak.

Tell your hubby to invest in both!

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Thanks, twg, for the herbal recommendation. I've heard eating poison oak honey also helps. Goodness know where to get that... and not that we eat honey much anyways... and not that I've ever had the rash, so for me it's a mute point. I'll direct hubby to the supplements to check out.

Don't even get me started on his all-over body rash from penicillin after a nasty poison oak rash. We're still not sure if he's allergic to penicillin or if the rash was just that bad.

Andy already uses Technu when he can. It's a bit difficult to do while camping without running water. Plus, it is spendy stuff.