The Amazing Adventures of Josie and Seb

July 7, 2010

Home Remedies

Filed under: adventuring, neat!, triumph! — Cate @ 9:49 pm

Being a person who gets poison ivy with some regularity (and who has sensitive skin that reacts very strongly to the devil’s plant), I have a routine for dealing with the itching and rashiness and general gross discomfort. Things like calamine lotion, oatmeal baths, hot hot hot showers, ibuprofen – and, of course, a trip to the doctor for some steroids. Since I’m currently a person without health insurance (or any money, if we’re being honest), when I was poisoned this time I figured, “no big deal – I’m sure I can fix the problem using my superior Google skills and a few items I already have in my apartment.”

Google is filled with helpful remedies like fels-naptha (huh?) and golden seal root extract (what?) and sage advice like, “go talk to your doctor and get a prescription for steroids.” Still, I was determined not to give up. There had to be an easy, cheap solution. For once, I would defeat poison ivy instead of poison ivy defeating me!

Home Remedy #1: Hydrogen Peroxide

Good old HP. So useful for so many things. Why not poison ivy? I was careful not to accidentally pour it on my hair and instead doused my ivy rash very liberally a few times a day. It only lasted for one day, because here’s the thing: HP doesn’t hurt.

I don’t know about you, but I subscribe to the belief that a remedy ought to hurt pretty bad (so you know it’s working). Can’t say for sure if HP would have cleared up the ivy, because I just didn’t have faith in its effectiveness and so abandoned it early on.

Home Remedy #2: Rubbing Alcohol

I read online that rubbing alcohol was especially effective if you scratched the rash in an extremely brutal way before pouring it on yourself. And wow – this one hurts. Hurts pretty bad. As you can imagine, I was ecstatic. Once the burning stopped and I was able to unclench my jaw, I noticed the itching had completely stopped. Score!

I repeated the rubbing alcohol method for a day or two, firmly believing that my rash was getting better. I was beside myself with triumph. “Doesn’t it look good?!” I would ask Joe, forcing him to look close at my rash. The sight didn’t make him puke, which I took as an excellent sign.

All was going swimmingly until I told my Mom about my miraculous cure-all and she said, “Catherine, don’t be ridiculous. We’re going to the pharmacy.” After that it not only completely stopped working – of course – but got even worse. The next day, Mom recoiled in horror from the sight of my bare shoulder, which led to a forceful application of…

Home (sort of) Remedy #3: Tecnu EXTREME

This is a sort of soap-lotion that you use to scrub your rash (or, if you’re me, your entire body). It has little gritty bits mixed in that supposedly break up the blisters so the medicine can get to the inner skin, but also there’s something in it that bonds to the poison oil so the whole nasty mess can be washed away. It’s not cheap, but thankfully I have a Mom who loves me and doesn’t want to see her only daughter succumb to poisons. (It’s also not expensive, by any normal person’s standards. It’s just more expensive than free and so, for me, is too expensive.)

I’m sad to admit it, but it needs to be said: this crap is the real deal. Wow. Sometimes it really is best to leave things to the professionals. I scrubbed myself down on Saturday and by today (Wednesday), the rash is almost completely gone. Not just not itchy – gone. GONE. Gone gone gone-itty gone.

So I didn’t end up solving the problem totally on my own, but at least it is solved. And I didn’t have to sell all my possessions to pay for treatment or even go to the emergency room this time, so…I’d say that’s a positive. Plus, I discovered a new miracle cure whose restorative benefits I can now screech about from every available mountaintop. I’m appointing myself Official Spokesperson.

TECNU EXTREME, people. You can even “like” it on Facebook.

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