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Watch for Pioson Ivy, Oak, Sumac

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Topic Originally Created by TowZone on Tow411 in June of 2014:


Poison Ivy Awareness, learn how to identify which 3 leaf plants are poisonous. I went for years getting into poison ivy and then one night one of our guys needed assistance cause their was poison ivy all over a hill side and around a tree which a car had wrecked into. He was allergic, so of course I stated I was not allergic to the plant and wire rope and chains in hand I lowered into the depths of the green growth. How many different plants, I do not know as it was like 2am.  I do know my immunity decided to end at that point in my life. Must of realized just how dense the poison ivy was and I broke out within a few hours. Finally after several days of spreading it all over myself and many over the counter medications, I went to the doctor and got a shot. That worked within 2 or 3 days. I still itch when I think about it.

Why do I bring this topic up you may ask. Well I happened to be listening to a radio show which covered this subject in depth. Since this is the time of year most tow operators will be exposed to it, I felt that responsibly I should put out an advisory topic. Many of us just go about the recovery and do not considered the hazards of these plants. Kinda like going into the water these days and not considering the hazards of sharks. When I was growing up it was just jelly fish, never gave any thought to sharks.

Back on topic, if you do get poison ivy, oak or sumac there is a product they say works well. It's Zanfel and more information can be found at Zanfel.com

They say to wash the area with COLD WATER not HOT as the hot water opens the pores and allows the poison to spread into the blood stream faster. Also, wash all the clothes you had on with a detergent.  This is because the poison can be active for something like five years and could continue to spread.

Now, I am sure this is nothing new to anyone, especially country boys and gals who have grown up identifying the plant since they were very young. But, everyone gets busy and focuses on the recovery only the miss the obvious hazards on the ground or growing up the tree. At least one of us has been there done that and that would be me. I am sure many others here can relate as well. So pass it on and keep a fellow tow operator from making the same uncomfortable and sleepless mistake.


Snubber said:

Good post Ron !


mooresbp said:

I have a poison oak soap that I use when I get close to it. I think I can get it by just smelling it.


someotherplace said:

If you have a serious reaction, Zanfel won't do anything except give extremely temporary relief. Been there, done that. :(

I've always been highly allergic ever since I was a little kid. Any type of exposure generally has me at the doctor getting a prescription for oral steroids (prednisone) or if it's serious, a shot.

What many don't know about poison ivy is that it's a cumulative allergy. Those that are NOT allergic can BECOME allergic, with repeated exposure. So even if it doesn't bother you now, you should avoid it whenever possible!



surrytower said:

And to those of us in the north watch out in the winter also.

Many years ago one of my daughters brought in some fire wood when the ground was covered with snow and wound up with the itch from some left on the bark.

Very unpleasant.



Boltz said:

When I graduated from high school and knew everything about everything, (hah!) I worked for a year for the local conservation authority.  Part of my job was clearing out bush for camping sites.  Needless to say I was in poison ivy quite a bit because I was NOT allergic to it.  (At that time)  Guess what happened?  Can you spell the word cumulative?  Did a rollover on a Civic in the bush.  Yep, was off work for more than two weeks and had it for over a month.  Doc told me to stay the heck out of it or else was in for big trouble.  Not fun time.  Father of son that rolled car, helped me to recover vehicle , and ended up in the hospital with it in his eyes.  Point made, now I try to avoid the stuff. http://static.yuku.com/domainskins/bypass/img/smileys/embarassed.gifhttp://static.yuku.com/domainskins/bypass/img/smileys/embarassed.gif   Thxs for the timely reminder Ron.


Keen1051 said:

I can lay naked in it, it doesn't bother me. I've got some drivers though, that has to go to the hospital, and take shots for it. I always call them a bunch of sissys!


MADDOG said:

very good soap to use tecnu,use within a couple hours of exposure and it does very well.


wreckerman05 said:

I use to never get it,but around the 50 year mark-I started getting the skin irritations from poison--I keep a bottle of alcohol (rubbing) not the drinking kind  in my trucks--and I wash down good after a call I do in the weeds--havent had it bad lately------


1Towman said:

I have been in it and not had a reaction before but last year I got into some sumac that sent me to the doctor my eyes were just about swollen shut any way I had just put this link on my Facebook the other day




rlc4523 said:

If you do get it on you wash asap in cool to cold water and don't worry about buying the expensive soaps for the plants simply wash in dawn dish soap. its an oil from the plants that causes the reaction and what does Dawn do....wash grease and oil


towing4u said:

Thanks for the Zanfel tip, not heard that one and I am an expert on how to get poison ivy! I get it just being in the same zip code.


Genotowpro said:

Here's how I get rid of it before it gets to bad. just done this today 10am to last pic around 5:30 pm I got some tide with bleach on  a wet wash cloth (works like sand paper) scrubbed the poison oak real good then washed off and poured bleach on it. Burns a little but no more itch.












Sirknucklehead said:

Bleach does work on drying it up, burns for a bit. I don't recommend that for others, but I have used that method with success. I try to stay away from the poison ivy, oak, and sumack.


TowmanBlue said:

If I get close to it, it jumps on me. When I get into it I take a shower and change clothes as soon as possible.


middstate said:

Thank you for reminding all of us. If I even just look at poision ivy I get it.  I have to use predisone from a doctor it is a ointment that you spread on the rash.  After every year of my life of getting this medicine I get stingy with it so i have left over supply avoiding the doctor every other year.


smoffrd snowrider said:

my kids see a pitchure of it and it's dig out the calimine lotion i've never had a problem with it my aunt has a break out every summer and she now live no were she could come incontact with it.


Roadside Rescue said:

Big tough guy, The Fire Department told me about two years ago at a roll over into the woods, be careful that poison ivy. My statement don't worry about me never had it in my life !!!!!   Big mistake, right into the woods doing my job. What a baby I found out I really am when the culprit hit. Turns out after a trip to the dermitologist, It can get you at any time. Once you get it you aint immune no more. Now I carry cheap Tyvex suits under the seats of the trucks, and dispose of them when I'm done with them. $10.00 or $12.00 is a cheap way to protect yourself. Just be smart not like the big guy I was.  I'm humbled now. Hope this trick helps.


Spitz said:

I get it too and not always from the plant itself. They brush hog the ditches around here so you never know whats been there before. After any call I think I may have got it I really wash my arms and stuff down with the hose outside the shop as im likely washing the bed off too. IF I do get it my treatment is to ride it out and every 6 hrs or so, take a shower and get the water as hot as I can stand it and put the affected area in that hot shower. It burns for a bit but then the relief comes and stays for a good 6hrs again. Something with the bodies natural antihistamine reaction system that the hot water works.


BigWheelRecovery said:

This is a great post, seems this year there is much more p/i around that before, 3of my guys got it real bad on our last roll over. Now we have a new policy before anyone enters the tree line they must cover up meaning Tyvec suits an  rubber gloves there cheap an saves a lot of money in lost production. Your crew will be out all screwed up an in pain when you need them the most. Even worst they also spreed the P/I to there family's an babies Another problem there are tons of ticks this year as-well. One new kind of tic is so bad if it bites you it can prevent you from being able to eat meat again. your hands an throat will swell rapidly an you can die from just eating a hamburger.Its out there you can look it up. So you bosses out there supply your crew with Tyvac suits an rubber gloves make it mandatory they take the few minutes to protect they selfs if they cheat you'll know real soon an make sure they dispose of them right away if you or your crew had it as bad as my guys you'll understand. 

Thanks  BOB          

Have a nice day



TowZone said:

This is important, so I will keep featuring the topic until each and every member has it ingrained into their very being. As I stated I had it a few years ago and the memory is much like being brush by a moving vehicle it is embedded in your memory. Sadly we do tend to get busy and let down our guard, be safe out there. Everyone here on Tow411 cares and will pass this info on to others. Seems like common sense till you get it.

My wife is just now getting over poison ivy she got when cleaning out one of her rental properties. Didn't say anything cause she thought she had brought in Bed Bugs so it got worse over a couple of days till she finally showed me the sores. Of course I knew what it was right away. No, there are no Bed Bugs, I spray constantly for them as you never know. Actually had a impounded car many years ago that was so invested with Bed Bugs you could actually see them without trying hard. A couple had lived in that car for months. Watch how you handle those as well, it does not have to be a bed. It can be the seat of a car. Yuck... but that is another topic. 


BillWishard said:

Had to take on for the team. Didn't work out to well this time though I'm on my 3rd round of steroids. Never had a problem until 4 years ago. Just found out there is a pre wipe to apply before going into the woods. Trying that the next time.


Boltz said:

BillWishard, what is the name and brand of pre wipe?  Thx


BillWishard said:

The pre and post wipes are IvyX supposed to work on Ivy, Oak, and Sumac. Web site www.coretexproducts.com. Wife found them on amazom.com


wreckerman05 said:

I was in some bad off road recoveries this past weekend,and I used my rubbing alcohol and no itchies --and the poison was very viseable and I was caught in shorts(not planning on working but needed a winch truck ,not rollback)--I just pour some in my hand and rub all my exposed areas good,those briar scratches really fell good--this works good for me--I do also try and take a swim or shower when back home---


THTDON said:

I have never had poison ivy, and I am not allergic to it.  But last summer, I got a tow call along I-495 in Methuen.  The car driver pulled the car way off the road.  I had to lay on my back to reach under to hook up the car.  Little did I know that I was laying in poison oak.  And to make it worse, I was wearing shorts.  I have never been so uncomfortable in my life.  I wanted to scratch the skin right off my legs.  My doctor prescribed some sort of lotion.  And the itching went away shortly after applying the lotion.  Now I seldom wear shorts on the road.  Not only that, I wear the BDU pants that tuck into my boots.  That's a good way to avoid getting a tick on you, although the last two ticks that I found were in my hair (or what little hair I have).

And also that night at the same spot on the highway, I ran over a television set that someone had dumped off, and it was hidden in the tall grass.  I broke the big picture tube, which made a small explosion.  But luckily it was one of the tool boxes that broke the tube, and not a tire.



August 2017 TowZone said:

Think I might have gotten it again somehow. Treat a small area, hopefully it takes care of it before I have to go in for a shot.


wreckerman05 said:

been lucky this summer so far---only problem had a off road rollover at like 2:00AM--next evening I came home and changed work clothes to pair of shorts--I noticed 6 red spots and they were itching---wasnt poison  was chiggers--havent had them in many years--used finger nail polish and they quit itching---use to go pick black-berries and get chiggers,  havent see them in years-----



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Chiggers can be treated with kerosene or nail polish remover on the blister.

We use Fels naptha (aka brown soap) after exposure to poison ivy , oak, or sumac, wash with cold water ONLY! Its cheap & available at most WalMarts in the laundry section...knock on wood, always works so far.

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