Poison Oak AGAIN

Jun 21, 2006 at 5:06 PM
Miranda has contracted poison oak again, and in the same places - fingers, neck and mouth. (This leads me to believe that she has a habit of rubbing her neck and scratching around her mouth.)

Considering that I grew up in the Oregon woods, and never once caught poison oak, and that Aurora has not yet caught it, I'm starting to wonder if Miranda's the only one in the family who CAN catch it. How are you supposed to test that anyway? Give yourself poison oak? NO WAY an I doing that.

She probably got the poison oak from petting the dog.

Anyway, last year she nearly had to get taken to the hospital - she puffed up like a pufferfish. Couldn't sleep, couldn't think straight from the itch. She was nearly unrecognizable for the worst of it. Her lips - where she got the worst of it - got big (think Angelina Jolie after cosmetic surgery gone wrong). The same day I was ready to take her to the doctor she miraculously got better.

So, anyway, at two o'clock in the morning she comes into my room and tells me she's got poison oak again. [She says it like she's gonna be in trouble. Why would I get mad? Maybe because she realized it was a major inconvenience last year. She's so sweet.]

I told her "well, we'd better get started right away". So, we got up and scrubbed and scrubbed with cold water and soap in the shower. Let me tell you, nothing wakes you up from a deep sleep like a cold shower. After we got out, she was scrubbed with the poison oak store-bought stuff (from what I remember it does nearly nothing in exchange for the $30.00 it costs). Every little bit helps.

Then we put new sheets on the bed and put her bedding in the wash. She slept with me, with sockies on her hands. The washer and dryer conspired to make that amazing racket as usual. It cut out at 4 AM, but by then I was way past saving my beauty sleep.

This year we've learned from last years errors. We're keeping cornstarch and kaolin clay powder in socks on her hands the entire time she has it, so she can't scratch or spread it around more and that will soak up the oil on her fingers. We'll use the thinnest cotton socks we have, so she doesn't sweat. Get too warm and this will spread the oils. It may seem cruel, but it's more cruel to let her scratch it and spread it and get completely miserable. We're gonna do several drying clay masks and oatmeal baths. This darn poison oak oil is the hardest to remove from the skin of any I've ever come across.

I hate this, we're all in for a very bad week of sleepless nights and general suffering. All I'm losing is sleep. I've got the better end of the deal. Aurora has to pick up the slack on chores, and Miranda has to live with the pain. We're cancelling Friday's play date. Bummer.

But anyone out there who wants to know what to do about poison oak, it is THIS:

Prevent it by washing your hands constantly in cold water and a natural lye-based soap. Hot water and soap won't cut it, and cold water alone won't do it. Neither will a castille-based soap.

If you've already gotten it, take tepid or cool oatmeal baths, and regularly put a good anti-perspirant powder without aluminum in it onto it regularly.

Cool epsom salt soaks may or may not help, but they're a great relaxation soak anyway. Something of a placebo for my little one. I'm a firm believer in placebos for kids. A bandaid and a kiss have solved so many, many ailments.