[help?] oooh, it burns!

Jim Whitehead ejw@cse.ucsc.edu
Tue, 7 Jan 2003 22:05:24 -0800

I found this article to be really helpful:


It let me understand better what was happening to me.

The other piece of advice, which won't help you this time, is to get to a
doctor as soon as you are reasonably sure you have Poison Oak, and
immediately if you start seeing new PO areas 2-3 days after the first batch.
This latter symptom indicates that it's probably going systematic (i.e., is
in your lymphatic system). Flights of prednizone (the typical prescription),
if taken infrequently, are not a bad thing for you (and might even be
positively helpful), so don't hesitate, run and get the drugs. Prednizone is
also cheap, about $10-$15 will cover a typical case of PO. Your copay might
be more than the cost of the drugs.

The first time I got PO this past year, I thought I would just tough it out.
But, it went systematic, and just kept getting worse. The second time I got
to the doctor soon, and it was *much* better.

As for dealing with symptoms, I found that an over-the-counter anti-itch
nostrum worked well (Tecnu), but then I didn't have any PO on my face.
Ibuprofen (or maybe it was another anti-inflammatory) also seemed to work
well. Zanfel (pricey at $30 a tube) provided some temporary relief, mostly
(I think) because it has a really good abrasive (a super scratcher).

Scratching doesn't spread the PO, but may cause scarring if done
excessively. Really hot showers (as hot as you can stand, directly on the
affected area) provided some temporary (5-15 minute) relief, maybe long
enough to get to sleep. Would be risky around the eyes.

Hydrocortizone was pretty much useless for me.

For me the key to getting through the first time was distraction. Get the
mind off the PO symptoms, and the itch fades to a dull background roar.

- Jim

PS - Reading the first few chapters of Catch-22 might help as well. I recall
one character who stayed in the hospital as a way of prolonging his life, by
making it more boring, and hence increasing the perceived duration/

> -----Original Message-----
> From: fork-admin@xent.com [mailto:fork-admin@xent.com]On Behalf Of Elias
> Sinderson
> Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 12:04 PM
> To: fork@xent.com
> Subject: [help?] oooh, it burns!
> Some time ago there were a few FoRKs (I'd search the archive, but...)
> about poison oak.
> Let me just say that I had forgotten just how truely terrible the stuff
> is. As I write this, one eye swollen shut, most of my face, lips and
> ears burn, sting, itch and throb simultaneously. My forehead is swollen
> up about a centimeter, and my nose almost as bad... The saddest thing,
> perhaps, is that the anti-itch cream is mentholated so that when I put
> it on my eyes tear up and burn along with the rest of my face!
> Please don't say 'it could be worse' - it is, I'm just not going to go
> there for all FoRKage. Before thanking me for sparing you the details,
> maybe you could share with me any recipes for relief...?
> I never thought the combination of vast amounts of suffering and
> predizone would be so psychedelic.
> Elias