I recently got a very bad case of poison oak. My face swelled up to the point that my left eye was nearly shut for two days. My fingers had tiny mountain ranges of blisters of varying color from clear to orange to red. There was a lot of itching, scratching and general discomfort and one of the worst things about having poison oak is you can’t get comfortable anywhere because you don’t want to get the oils on your furniture.
My girlfriend and I turned to Google to try to figure out how to solve this problem and we found lots of articles and opinions, some seemingly helpful and several contradicting one another. This made it quite frustrating since what we wanted was a DO THIS AND IT WILL STOP set of instructions.
So in this post I want to highlight some of the things I did that I thought helped a great deal.
– Air out the blisters. Do not cover them up. I had been covering my fingers with gauze while in the home and with gloves when I left the house. Then on Sunday I decided to just let them ‘air out’, uncovered, while I watched football. Within a few hours I noticed them starting to progress through the cycle much faster. They started ‘weeping’, or oozing oil which they hadn’t done the prior two days.
– Stop the spread! The good news is you can’t spread it from the oils coming out of the blisters. It seems (depending on which articles you read) that you can not transfer it from your body to another body part. It must come from contact with something containing the poison oak oil.
The bad news is wherever it is, it is probably still there. I was being very diligent about covering up my exposed skin so as to not get my blister oils onto the furniture or around the house. But I kept noticing new blisters, usually as tiny dots, were still appearing in several areas on my body. We determined that the couch was the most likely culprit as we were always sitting on it, and just last weekend we were laying on it while watching tv. That would seem to explain how it got on the sides of my face, and my right arm, and why new blisters kept appearing, because I was always sitting on the couch.
We put Tecnu ivy scrub on a cloth and scrubbed down the couch and washed the pillow covers TWICE in the wash on the HOTTEST cycle. Wash that urushol oil away!
– Itching. You’re not supposed to do it but sometimes you just can’t help it. I found taking a hot, hot shower and pointing the shower head right on the blisters was therapeutic. It itched intensely for a few seconds then went away. Do this a couple of times a day as needed. I once woke up at 3 am just clawing at my arm and decided to jump in the shower. I slept like a baby after that.