Spring has sprung. How do I know?
I got my first case of poison ivy.
So it doesn’t rhyme but it’s still true.
Every year, I get caught out and get my first case of poison ivy in early spring. I don’t yet have my “poison ivy” antenna on.
Wham! A few days later, I notice a rash and look at it blankly. This time, the rash is on my stomach.
What could that possibly be? Was it something I ate? Maybe I picked up bedbugs someplace. But then I noticed the same rash on my wrist and even the underside of my chin. It’s poison ivy, picked up on one of the hikes I did a few days ago.
You can get poison ivy all year round in the eastern United States. In the winter, thick vines wrap themselves around large trees. If you touch the vines, tag, you got it. For this case of poison ivy, I assume that I leaned against a tree with just a thin T-shirt and was infected that way.
The rest of the year, you need to watch out for three-leaved vine on the ground, wrapped around other flowers, bushes and trees. In the Southern Appalachians, it’s on steroid. Hence, the saying,
Leaves of three, let it be!
You can call it an invasive nuisance plant but it’s our invasive, not an exotic. It likes disturbed ground so you’ll see on the side of trails but not deep in the woods. Usually, it doesn’t thrive above 4,000 to 5,000 feet, depending on what source you read.
After a hike, I wash myself with brown laundry soap, like Fels Naptha soap. Way back, the brown bar was sold in every grocery store but now, it’s not that easy to find. I buy it at Ace Hardware.
I didn’t wash with it this time because I wasn’t tuned in to poison ivy this season yet.
There are all sorts of remedies for the itch. Check out this website where I got the picture above. Mostly it’s best to avoid it and wash with brown soap, as a preventive measure, before you see it on your skin.
Once I get it, I just put up with it, try not to scratch and make sure I have brown soap for the next hike.
Poison ivy comes a creeping, all around…