A Cowboy’s Faith: Poison ivy causes misery – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: Poison ivy causes misery

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Be careful, that’s poison ivy on the old rotten dead tree you’re cutting down.”

Grant Carson stopped his Ford 8N tractor to advise a teenager about hazards of the green leaves encompassing the tree.

A long time ago, the community garden tiller and weekend town marshal counselled a naive tree saw operator.

The advice was never forgotten, and similar comments are heard frequently every year when people are around thriving poison ivy.

Sure enough, the next day back then there were red itchy spots all over the arms with seemingly uncontrollable scratching.

Medicated salves didn’t help one bit, but Dr. Bowers, a story himself, gave the kid a backside vaccination with red serum. The problem cleared up shortly afterward, and the same needle poke was requested on similar itchy occasions years later.

Several people in the area are now suffering from poison ivy and wonder more about the scratchy problem.

A weed specialist said poison ivy has three leaves with the middle leaf longer than the others. Edges can be smooth or coarsely toothed while the surface can be glossy or dull.

One dermatologist said about 75 percent of the population is allergic to the poison resin found in poison ivy.

An itchy rash will develop everywhere the resin touches while a person’s hand spreads it to all other body parts. Bumps, blotches, swelling and blisters can even be propagated by pets.

Poison ivy.

Poison ivy.

While a shower is advised after encountering poison ivy, only about half of the poison comes off. But it will lessen the impact.

Unfortunately, the best natural remedy for poison ivy is time. However, there are steps which can be taken to bring some relief. They include over-the-counter allergy antihistamine such as “Benadryl,” cold compresses. frequent baths, light bandaging, and no scratching.

The bumps and blisters can last 14 to 21 days but severe cases may require doctor treatment. A physician’s appointment is recommended when there is a severe widespread rash, eyelid swelling, fever, chills, and infection. Topical or oral steroid is a frequent doctor treatment prescription.

Once suffering from poison ivy, symptoms will appear faster the next time exposed.

To lower risk, it is suggested to apply a precontact preventative, wear protective clothing and gloves, and shower afterward.

Reminded of Luke 9-11: “He healed those who had need of healing from the poison.”


Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


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