Now we’re seriously into yard-work season, I am acutely aware that this is poison ivy season as well.
The claim is everyone can get contact dermatitis from the oil in poison ivy/oak/ sumac that contains urushiol toxin - though some are very sensitive.
The itch can drive you crazy, but now there’s a new product on the market that claims it is the only product that will remove the urushiol – Zanfel.
Conventional treatment is to wash any of the plant oil off as soon as possible with soap and water/alcohol; apply soothing balms like hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion; if bad enough, take systemic cortisone in pill or shot form – I always prescribe a course of prednisone pills.
One, slightly counterintuitive, trick for immediate relief of the itching – or itching from any cause – is to run the area under water as hot as you can stand it.
Best prevention is to avoid it (“leaves of three, let it be”). But maybe Zanfel is the answer. I couldn’t find much info’ about it’s efficacy. The price is a little daunting - $35.22 for a 1 oz. wash at Wal-Mart.
There is a fairly comprehensive review of the stuff at http://www.hanskellner.com/2003/04/25/poison-oak-treatment-zanfel-ingredients/