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Retro Grouch
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After the re-emergence of Padre's poison oak post, I thought I'd add my $.02. My background in poison oak is varied. My mom at 80 is still immune, I have had major cases and my wife usually ends up in the hospital. I supervised inmates in a county/CDC firecamp and I checked about a dozen web sites. Poison oak is caused by an oil called Urushiol. It causes a reaction at a molecular level and itches like hell. There is some evidence that a poison oak reaction can develop systemically, buy is usually a matter of the level of exposure. When you are exposed to poison oak oil you have between 10 minutes and two hours to get it off. Once it bonds to your skin cells, you're done.

One of the best products out there is Tecnu. Tecnu neutralizes the Urushoil and is best used prior and after exposure. As discussed earlier, after exposure you should take a cool shower (best with Tecnu) and then wash again with hot water. Once the oil has bonded with your skin you'll endure 14-21 days of itchy heck until a new layer of skin can grow. The allergic response is a combination of histamine and lymphatic.

Scratching your oozing skin will not spread the rash. The reason new rashes develop later is usually a result of a lower level or secondary exposures (i.e. you have Urushoil on your shoe that you trasfer to you knee when you un-velcro your shoes; then you transfer a smaller amount from hands to your ankle when you take off your socks). Your best bet is to apply Tecnu prior to exposure, rinse it off afterward with cool water with more Tecnu and then wash again with hot water. If you failed to use Tecnu before exposure, washing with Tecnu after can still prevent the rash as long as the oil has not bonded yet with your skin. Washing with hot water immediately after exposure can hasten the oil/skin bonding. Subsequent washing with hot water doesn't speed/hinder healing, but it can lesson the itching (thank god). Oak-N-Ivy, the same company that markets Tecnu also has a product called CalaGel. It contains drying and numbing agents and can help with the symptoms.

Since Urushoil can also cause a histamine response you may need an antihistamine like benadryl to control the symphathetic swelling or a steroid in more sever cases. There is also some evidence that some dermatological oitment such as pimerolimus may help. The worst cases I have seen are fire suppression inmates breathing in burning poison oak; imagine that itching oozing rash in your lungs.

Final word, poison oak sucks. Take the time to smear on some Tecnu before you ride and wash it off will cool water and Tecnu afterwards. A cycle through the washer will remove the oils from your riding apparel. That which you can't wash either needs some Tecnu or about 8 hours in the sun (oxidation is a wonderful thing).

1G1G, Brad
 

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Recovering Weight Weenie
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*itch itch itch
seriously....that stuff is plain wicked....
I've seen 3 doctors so far...each of them looks at my case, my history....shakes their head....then says....and all of them have said this...."perhaps you need to stay off the bike for a while....."
uh....no?
I'd sooner relagate myself to full-time road status...
I'll be buying stock in Tecnu soon..not that I can ever say that it has done wonders for me....but i'm hoping it's the thought that counts...
 

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don't give up biking...

I live in serous oak country, and am currently covered with it due to a not-carefull-enough trail building exercise.

Put Technue on before you ride, wear long sleeves and full length lycra if you need to and wash your stuff every time you ride.

If you have a dog wash them after every ride or sucomb to living with the itch.

Benadryl (sp?) can help swelling around the eyes. And there are herbal suplements that are supposed to help, but the jury is still out.

regards
~bone
 

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I was looking for tips on setting up my first SS when I saw this thread so I thought I'd register and maybe help a few folks. The previous posts are great but I thought I'd add alittle for when ya get the yellow ooze. With oozing PO I've found that if you scrub the area with a drying deodorant soap (found Dial to be the best) then scrub with tecnu (rinse the Dial off first!) in a hot shower, it relieves the itching and helps to dry it out better than straight tecnu. After you pat dry the area, apply a generous coat of Benadryl extra strength anti-itch cream (best OTC stuff for PO, the one in the blue and white tube). Do this in the morning and at night, making sure you wash all the cream off (don't leave the cream on longer than a day, it'll catch/trap bugs and can cause an infection) with the Dial before you scrub with the tecnu. On top of all that, I take one Benadryl allergy pill before I hit the sack (2 knocks my arse out, but it might work for you). I've found this cuts a nasty PO rash down to about 5 to 8 days, pretty standard time for a PO rash but it really helps with the discomfort and might save a trip to the doc and a shot in your bum.
BTW. I'm no doctor, so don't try to sue me if it doesn't work or if your arm falls off or something...
 

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Hit The Road Cyclery
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Not exactly related to riding through areas with poison oak/ivy, but if your camping in those areas it might be relevant. Do not, under any circumstances, burn poison oak! The Urushoil does not burn away, it is carried in the smoke from the fire, which means it can cover all of your exposed skin VERY easily (face, neck, chest and back if you have your shirt off). Even worse, if you breathe it in you can get the same effects on the inside of your mouth, nose, throat and even lungs! I've seen the effects first hand when my father and brother were burning undergrowth they were clearing from my dad's property, and it was u-g-l-y. DON'T BURN IT, and make sure any deadwood you collect for a campfire doesn't have any vines wrapped around it. The stems are just as bad as the leaves.
 

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Most Delicious
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One word for you:

ZANFEL

Wash the area with it, and the itching stops. It's amazing stuff. My wife is really sensitive to poison oak (we're talking prednisone levels of sensitivity) and this is the first thing that really works. Evidently it binds to the urusiol oil and makes it so that your anitbodies can't detect and react to it.

It's pretty expensive (~$40 for 1 oz), though Rite-Aid pharmacies sell a generic version called something like Poison Oak/Ivy Relief ( ~$27). It's worth it.

Another thing that works well for bad, weeping outbreaks is this stuff called Domeboro. It's a powder that you either mix in the bathtub or wet down into a poultice to apply to the area. It will dry out the weeping and has a soothing quality to it.

Tecnu works as a cleaner, but it's just deodorized mineral spirits. I'm sure there are lots of other things that are just as effective of a detergent against the urushiol oils.
 

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Tecnu

Tecnu is incredible stuff. At Sea Otter, Fillet-Brazed took vdubbusrider, Rumpfy and I on a ride and we ended up on a trail that was absolutely choked with poison oak. There was no way not to come in contact with it, the oak was so dense. So we back tracked (more oak contact) and made it to a trail more friendly. On the way back to the hotel, I stopped off at the first drug store and bought a bottle of Tecnu - best $7 I spent all weekend (well, maybe the deep fried calamari was close). A few minutes of scrubbing with Tecnu per the instructions and I was free of the oak. No blisters/rash followed at all.

I've never used Tecnu before coming in contact with oak, but have had very good success with Ivy Block - a pre-contact product. I've also used Windex after coming in contact with good results.

Poison oak sucks - but Roundup does a bang up job of killing it
:D
 

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Zanfel.......

Has worked for me, I use it when I know I've come in contact with the stuff. It's kept me mostly Oak-Free and when I do get it, it's just a dot here or there, then the Zanfel kills it in 1 application. GOOD stuff! :)

- SSMike - Our crew has been doing some house keeping up there where FB took you....
We should be Oak free on about 80% of the trails for a YEAR! :D :D :D
 

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DMFT said:
- SSMike - Our crew has been doing some house keeping up there where FB took you....
We should be Oak free on about 80% of the trails for a YEAR! :D :D :D
Thank you! That was a very ugly experience! Last year during the race someone went over the bars two riders in front of me on a downhill single track section and to get out of the way of the other riders, rolled out of the way right into a patch of oak. When I went by, his face was in poison oak leaves. I almost had convulsions seeing that - shudder.
 

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Oh, by the way.......

- I forgot to mention, In the 4 Hours of trailwork eliminating P.O, I got/had 1 dot of oak on the wrist. Thank you Zanfel!
 

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orthonormal
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aka brad said:
After the re-emergence of Padre's poison oak post, I thought I'd add my $.02. My background in poison oak is varied. My mom at 80 is still immune, I have had major cases and my wife usually ends up in the hospital. I supervised inmates in a county/CDC firecamp and I checked about a dozen web sites. Poison oak is caused by an oil called Urushiol. It causes a reaction at a molecular level and itches like hell. There is some evidence that a poison oak reaction can develop systemically, buy is usually a matter of the level of exposure. When you are exposed to poison oak oil you have between 10 minutes and two hours to get it off. Once it bonds to your skin cells, you're done.

One of the best products out there is Tecnu. Tecnu neutralizes the Urushoil and is best used prior and after exposure. As discussed earlier, after exposure you should take a cool shower (best with Tecnu) and then wash again with hot water. Once the oil has bonded with your skin you'll endure 14-21 days of itchy heck until a new layer of skin can grow. The allergic response is a combination of histamine and lymphatic.

Scratching your oozing skin will not spread the rash. The reason new rashes develop later is usually a result of a lower level or secondary exposures (i.e. you have Urushoil on your shoe that you trasfer to you knee when you un-velcro your shoes; then you transfer a smaller amount from hands to your ankle when you take off your socks). Your best bet is to apply Tecnu prior to exposure, rinse it off afterward with cool water with more Tecnu and then wash again with hot water. If you failed to use Tecnu before exposure, washing with Tecnu after can still prevent the rash as long as the oil has not bonded yet with your skin. Washing with hot water immediately after exposure can hasten the oil/skin bonding. Subsequent washing with hot water doesn't speed/hinder healing, but it can lesson the itching (thank god). Oak-N-Ivy, the same company that markets Tecnu also has a product called CalaGel. It contains drying and numbing agents and can help with the symptoms.

Since Urushoil can also cause a histamine response you may need an antihistamine like benadryl to control the symphathetic swelling or a steroid in more sever cases. There is also some evidence that some dermatological oitment such as pimerolimus may help. The worst cases I have seen are fire suppression inmates breathing in burning poison oak; imagine that itching oozing rash in your lungs.

Final word, poison oak sucks. Take the time to smear on some Tecnu before you ride and wash it off will cool water and Tecnu afterwards. A cycle through the washer will remove the oils from your riding apparel. That which you can't wash either needs some Tecnu or about 8 hours in the sun (oxidation is a wonderful thing).

1G1G, Brad
Tecnu is ridiculously overpriced, especially given the much cheaper and equally effective alternatives. If you can find the stuff, buy a bar of Fels Naptha Soap (old fashioned bar type laundry soap) and use it in place of regular soap for your post ride shower (with cool/cold water). $1.50 a bar and it'll last a year if you use it 2x/week. Dawn dishwashing liquid works too.
 

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never tried 'em, but someone posted on another board that they now have wipes w/Dawn detergent in them. Dawn s'posedly breaks down the oils in PI which is more common than PO in my area. I guess that ties with the fact technu is just good smellin' mineral spirits. Sounds like you just need something that breaks down the oil in the plant.
 

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orthonormal
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texacajun said:
never tried 'em, but someone posted on another board that they now have wipes w/Dawn detergent in them. Dawn s'posedly breaks down the oils in PI which is more common than PO in my area. I guess that ties with the fact technu is just good smellin' mineral spirits. Sounds like you just need something that breaks down the oil in the plant.
Same irritant in both PO and PI but PI has it in greater concentrations. Dawn works because it dissolves oils.
 

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As Andy F said Tecnu is expensive stuff... I live in a 40 acre apple orchard with far more poison ivy than apple trees. I've had PI and PO on EVERY part of my body at one time or other. When I flew in the Navy, I had PO from a climbing excursion to Calaveras Dome in the Sierras everywhere, have you ever tried to sit still for hours bond up in a flight suit, survival vest and belts while the itching erodes every last cognitive function? More recently, I have managed to avoid a major case in the last few years by using my homebrew tecnu substitue. I take odorless mineral spirits, add dish detergent (I don't measure anything, but lets say 5:1), mix it really well and voila, bulk PI rinsing solution. If I get PI, I wash the area and everything I came in contact with thoroughly. Once I have the rash and I am sure the oil is not present, I run hot, I mean really hot, water over the rash while scrubbing with a wash cloth. This creates an incrediblely satisfying itching sensation (and can lead to blindness....). Afterwards you'll have 8 hours of itch free living as all the histamines in the area will be depleted from your hot water itching orgy. Just make sure your not spreading the oil while relieving the itch....

Regards,
Wardo
 
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