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Monday, July 28, 2014

It Itches!!

Normally once a year I get a case of poison ivy. It usually shows up in late spring. When it didn't this year, I was surprised, relieved and happy. For some reason, it was just delayed, kind of like some of our garden crops.

The complication I have with poison ivy is that I don't just get a little patch. It will start off in one small place then kind of blossom, usually on my forearm. Even with treatment, it tends to kind of 'grow' up and down my arm until I look rather frightening.

After the poison ivy is well established, blistering and itching like crazy, my psoriasis kicks in. There is something about getting a rash from poison ivy that initiates a psoriasis reaction. I'm not sure what causes it, but it does it every time. I get a flaming red, very, very, itchy rash across my stomach and this year it has decided to visit the front of my neck as well.



I have tried many different remedies in the past, but usually resort to a very strong, prescription hydrocortisone type product I got from a dermatologist. And even with that, it just seems to run it's course. This time I started using this cream right away, but as you can see, it is still blistering after about a week. It doesn't leave until it's good and ready to. And did I mention, it ITCHES? Oh yeah, that was the title of this piece, wasn't it?


A while back Frank bought me a bar of natural soap for poison ivy. It contains sassafras root bark, Noni, white willow, organic oat bran, and pure natural clay. I haven't tried it before this outbreak. After using the hydrocortisone with little results, I decided to try this soap. It does a fair job of subduing the itching for a while, but one of my concerns is how the psoriasis will respond. I started using this soap yesterday and the psoriasis on my stomach has spread quite a bit this morning.



Another facet of this little adventure is that my skin is very particular and I can use a very limited number of products on it without getting little itchy red dots. Nice, huh? I use only specific brands and types of lotion or moisturizing products. So the spread of this outbreak on my stomach this morning has me wondering about this soap. I will give it another day to see if it is the culprit, or if it's just me.

So, now I am asking you what your remedies are. Since I have the underlying reaction of psoriasis, which is also very itchy too, by the way, some of the normal poison ivy treatments may not work. But, on the other hand, if I could knock out the poison ivy, maybe the psoriasis would subside as well. You may know by reading some of our other posts that we are trying to cut down on the chemicals we ingest or use on our skin. One of my long-term goals is to be able to make my own ointments and salves from herbs I have grown. Unfortunately, I'm just not quite there yet.

What are your solutions? I would love to hear them. Excuse me while I try not to scratch.........

Until next time - Fern
 

68 comments:

  1. Back when my Daughter was younger? (that makes me Older).. She has eczema ... I looked for help everywhere (as I'm sure you have.) "We" ... Found anything with "sent-perfume" was bad ... I talked to the small town pharmacy & he gave me Lanolin (they made saves, ointments type stuff - non sented, that was a step in the right direction but it too only lasted a short time and we found rotating lotions (all was high end hypo allergenic -some was expensive) all helped but ... The saga continues ...
    One strang thing I noticed was swimming at the local pool?... Maybe the chorine or the sun, air?... Why I never figured that one out. / I know it's a totally different condition but ... If it helps? Good luck with the search
    " T "

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    1. I was told years ago to avoid scented lotions, shampoos, etc., as well, T, and it does help somewhat. The dermatologist told me that sunshine is one of the best things for psoriasis, so I am usually better off in the summer than the winter. Just not right now.

      Frank recommended this morning that I try my 'no shampoo' regimen on this outbreak instead of the soap, so I did. I washed off the soap residue, then put on the baking soda/water mix I use for shampoo and let it sit for a minute, then rinsed it off. Next, I rubbed on the vinegar/water mixture and just let it dry in place. The itching is down. We'll wait and see how well it works on drying everything out and getting rid of it. Now, why didn't I think of that? He said if it works on the itching on my head, why wouldn't it work on this? Good question.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  2. Just this summer, after years of suffering with Poison Ivy and having very bad reactions to steroids, I found something that works! It's called Biron Rhus toxicodendron 30C (there are other manufacturers and strengths). It's a homeopathic treatment. I was covered for about two months this year and about to break down and ask my Doctor for a steroid pack. The I decided to check the internet and found the Rhus Tox. Within 36 hours of taking my first dose, the itching stopped. Within two days, I was no longer breaking out. I stopped taking it after three days and started breaking out again. I went back on and took it for a couple of weeks, then went off more slowly with great results. Some folks say taking it in the spring gives them immunity. I intend to try that next year. There are many reviews, etc. out there where you can get other's opinions. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you for sharing this treatment, it sounds like it works for some folks. I will do some research on it.

      Fern

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  3. I understand that Dry starch ( the old fashioned kind) is very good to dry up poisen ivey . We havent tried it , but have some for the next outbreak .
    Hope Frank is feeling better .

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    1. Thank you, Grace, I hadn't heard of that one. Do you use it dry like a powder or make a paste out of it?

      Frank is feeling better everyday. He is able to do more and that is a great plus. Sitting around waiting to heal gets really boring. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  4. You use it as a powder .

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  5. One thing to note is that once you get poison ivy in your system it takes about 7 years for it to fully be healed. So unfortunately you will likely get the rash a few more years.

    My father intentionally rubbed some on his arm and it came back in the exact same spot for at least 3-4 years.

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    1. I have always thought it had some sort of systemic effect, but the doctors always said it doesn't. Thank you for sharing this. It is very interesting information.

      Fern

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  6. My wife is extremely allergic to poison ivy and has nothing but praise for Tecnu products. She does not have psoriasis. Link: http://www.teclabsinc.com/

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    1. Thank you for the link and the information. One of the challenges I have is not knowing when I have been exposed. I think many times I get the oil on my skin from our animals - dog, cats or goats. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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    2. I was going to recommend the Tecnu products too. No one in the house has psoriasis (so I have no idea how the Tecnu stuff would affect it), but my husband is pretty allergic to it (I'm not, I can handle it bare handed with no problems, though I try to avoid doing that just to be safe), breaking out into a rash at the slightest touch of it, and the Tecnu stuff works very well for him.

      If you can find something that works without aggravating your skin it might be worth just using it as part of your regular wash up after gardening, just to help avoid the rash!

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  7. Zanfel! My son had a systemic outbreak several years ago and it was the only thing that worked, and I bought everything available at the time. He looked like some of the testimonial pics. The tecnu scrub wasn't available then, but it works for him now if he uses it right away. otherwise back to zanfel which is quite pricey.

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    1. Thank you for this information, I will have to look this up to see what is in it. I like the way you answered with an exclamation point. It shows how strongly you believe in this product. Thank you again.

      Fern

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    2. I have to second this one. The biggest downside is it's pretty expensive. But when you weigh it against the kind of misery I get with poison ivy, it's totally worth it.

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  8. I have used the Technu and Zanfel before with great results! This is a wash that takes the urishiol oil (which is what causes the histamine reaction and then the blistering) off and prevents you from getting the reaction in the first place. If I get the rash anyway, for instance when I have brushed against the poison oak or ivy without know it, I use Stri-Dex pads. These pads are actually meant to remove oil from the face for teenagers with acne. For me, it helps to dry up the irritating rash and soothes the itching for a while. If I don't get on it right away, the rash will start weeping, which has caused a few infections in the rash in the past. The Zanfel and Technu will also help dry up the rash, but I save these for washing away oils to prevent the rash. They are pretty expensive and I have found that the Stridex works just as well after you have a rash, and it's a lot cheaper! Good luck with your healing. I know just how miserable you are - especially if it's a hot day!

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    1. Vickie, I have tried rubbing alcohol, peroxide, witch hazel, vinegar....and the list goes on. Thank you for your routine. And, yes, it is very itchy. Thank you again for sharing.

      Fern

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  9. Oh yeah - I forgot to mention - sometimes taking a shower with soap will just spread the urishiol oil (the stuff that causes the reaction), depending on how much oil you have on your skin. Also, if you get the oil on your clothes and don't wash them well, you can be re-exposed to the oil again! My niece tromped through poison oak on a camping trip once and got a horrible case almost from head to toe. Two months later, on another camping trip where there wasn't any poison oak or poison ivy, she came down with another horrible case! Why? The urishiol oil had originally transferred from her skin to her sleeping bag, which had not been washed, and so she was re-exposed!!!

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    1. I hadn't heard that regular soap would spread the oil. That's too bad your niece had the oils on her sleeping bag! Yuck! Thank you again for sharing.

      Fern

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  10. I use the Tecnu scrub and found it works very well for me, and I was very skeptical at first. It will stop the itching and reduce inflammation for 4-6 hours. This spring I got ivy so bad it looked like it would leave a permanent scar. After a few scrubs with Tecnu the inflammation was a fraction of what it was.

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    1. It looks like a lot of folks have good results with this product. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  11. Wish I did have a solution for poison ivy misery. I'm deathly allergic to it too.

    All I know to do it avoid it like the plague. And if I do make contact with it wash my skin IMMEDIATELY with Fels-Naptha soap.

    Glad Frank is feeling better and on the mend. Hope you get to feeling better soon too.

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    1. Hmmm....I wonder what is in Fels-Nahtha that is effective. I haven't heard of that one. Thank you for the good wishes and for sharing, Granny.

      Fern

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  12. At the first tingle or known contact I use any degreasing dishwashing soap and COLD water, lather, rinse, repeat, repeat repeat on first contact tends to keep it from happening. I've also used Tecnu brand stuff w/moderate success. ~~Sassafras

    Here's Mother Earth News advice on the subject:
    http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/home-remedies-for-treating-poison-ivy-rash-zb0z11zsch.aspx#axzz38kt5M6DJ

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    1. Thank you for sharing the Mother Earth News link, Sassafras. I've always used Ivory liquid or Dawn to wash my arms off with.

      Fern

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  13. Have you tried Calydryl clear?

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    1. I have. It doesn't even take the itch away. It used to be what I always tried first, but after a few years and bad outbreaks, I gave up on it. Thank you for the question.

      Fern

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    2. But, at Frank's recommendation, after I used the baking soda/vinegar routine, I followed it up with a coating of Caladryl and it did help knock down some of the itch for a while. Thanks again.

      Fern

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  14. Trying using jewelweed. It's a herb/flower in the wild and usually grows right alongside of poison ivy. I've heard, but do not know personally, that it is very useful for many other skin conditions as well. You can wrap your skin with the leaves and flowers or make a salve or ointment from the herb.

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    1. I planted some jewelweed seeds this summer, but it happened to be one of the dog's favorite cool places to dig and lay down, so they didn't make it. I had read about jewelweed for several years. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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    2. Bless your heart! I'll chime in on the jewelweed. I've used it personally on a horrible rash that suddenly appeared while I was collecting the jewelweed (probably got into nettles unknowingly). Burned and itched like fury! Had the cure in my hands, so crushed leaves and stems between my hands to release the juices, and spread it all over my arms. The relief was nearly instant. I still collect jewelweed and dry it, storing it in a gallon jar after chopping it up coarsely. It's wonderfully soothing (and smells great) to bathe in. Just put a couple of handfuls in a bag and let it soak in the bath water. I always keep it around. I would grow it myself but don't have a suitably wet area for it. Hope this encourages you to try it. Praying for a speedy healing for you and Frank!

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    3. I have read similar things about jewelweed before. Thank you for sharing this. Now, I just need to get more seeds and protect them from the dog!

      Fern

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    4. I made my own jewelweed salve. It works really good!! The jewelweed itself works better though. I guess it's where it's more concentrated. Good luck!

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    5. Thank you for letting me know how it works for you. I'm going to have to find some.

      Fern

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  15. Not the healthiest but we use straight acitone , it burn but clears it up real quick.

    Amber ky

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    1. I hadn't heard about acetone, Amber. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  16. A long time ago, as a child I had poison oak all over both arms, across my chest and up my neck......I learned quickly after that how to recognize it and to not pick up brush with a tank top on. My dad said when he was a child his mom (my grandmother) would boil white oak bark and soak the rash with the cooled tea. I do remember some relief. Hope you feel better soon! Sometimes though if it goes systemic, a steroid dose pack may be your only choice.

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    1. The white oak bark tea sounds like a good natural option, Kelly. The dose pack is not an option for me, I can't take them. The dermatologist told me to avoid oral or injectable steroids because it can cause an outbreak of the psoriasis. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  17. I don't know anything about poison ivy, but can give you my answer to the exzema problem. I suffered for years with exzema/psoriasis. I used hydrocortisone creme which stopped the itching slightly. It was so horrible on my hands especially that it kept me from doing things like becoming a nurse. Well, in 2008 we moved to the country. Our country place has a well, and our water needs no treatment. A month or so later, I noticed that the exzema was totally gone. It never returned, not one bit! I can only attribute this to no longer having treated city water. Don't know if you are on a well or not. But if you are on city water, trying untreated water might help.

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    1. This is very interesting information. When I first started itching and found out about the psoriasis, we did have well water. Now, we use treated city water. But it does make me wonder if it would be less of a problem with well water, especially with my no shampoo routine. Something for us to think about. Thank you very much for sharing.

      Fern

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  18. For FRESH poison ivy I use vinegar.
    I kept a bottle with my stuff when I worked in the woods, as soon as I noticed the patch of skin where I had run into the poison ivy I poured the vinegar on.
    It burns a little but the itching stops & it went away. It had to be a fresh exposure.

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    1. That's a good idea, Rob. I usually don't know when I've been exposed. If I am working around a known area of poison ivy, I am very careful and wash well. But, the worst cases I get are of unknown origin. That's why I blame the animals.

      Fern

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  19. Back in the mid Seventies I had a bad case of psoriasis. Went to Doctor after Doctor trying to cure it nothing they tried worked. In February my grandmother said she could cure it within two weeks. She mixed yellow sulfur and petrolium jelly half and half. Applied the paste and I had to lie in the sun for about an hour each treatment. Within ten days all was gone.

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    1. I think this is very interesting. I wonder what the interaction between sulfur and sunshine is? I know that sunshine can help alleviate some psoriasis symptoms, but I hadn't heard about sulfur. Thank you!

      Fern

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    2. The sulfur was to dry out the psoriasis. Now it stunk! After about a half hour the paste would dry up (the petrolium jelly was used to hold the sulfur on the skin) then turn around and do the other side. Now due to it being February I got very cold laying out in the sun but it worked. I would take an old quilt to spread out. It took about five washings after I was done to get the quilt to not have that sulfur smell.

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    3. Right now, I think I would take stinky over itchy! Thank you for the explanation.

      Fern

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  20. I've never had poison oak or ivy, but a lady was on TV this morning. She healed herself of psoriasis with a raw juice fast after watching the film Fat, Sick and nearly Dead. She said she didn't have the normal patchy psoriasis. She was covered in bumps over her entire body, and the doctors couldn't help her. It has stayed gone since she has continued juicing.
    Hope this is of some help.
    Kimberly

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    1. I don't know much about juicing, Kimberly. I would have to do some research. It sounds like that lady had it much worse than I do. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  21. Hi Fern, my mom has had poison oak and tried many of the afore mentioned cures . What helps her the most is to use a blow dryer on the itching areas right away. Seems to dry it up and stop the itching . Sure hope this helps you to! From Oregon, Margie.

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    1. I would have never thought of a blow dryer, Margie. Tell your mom thanks for me and thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  22. Hello Fern, I'm so sorry to hear about the itching. I don't have a poison ivy/oak allergy that i know of, but I am allergic to lantana (blisters and severe itching that lasts for weeks). I read on this blog about a natural Neem oil balm for eczema and psoriasis - maybe it will help you. You can certainly ask about it.

    http://www.lovelygreens.com/2012/05/handmade-healing-cream-for-eczema-and.html

    regards, Pamela

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    1. Thank you for sharing this resource with us, Pamela. It is interesting how some people are allergic to some things but not others. And sometimes it makes us learn more, doesn't it?

      Fern

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  23. I have chronic "lady parts" itchy dermatitis. I take oral Benadryl twice a day to congrol the itch.

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    1. Have you tried Vaseline? Just to coat the parts that itch and protect them from irritation from soaps or material composition. It's worth a try.

      Fern

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  24. Rubbing alcohol makes it feel better sometimes. I get it really bad and have gone to the doctors for steroids before. Focus on anything the oil can get on. Shoe laces, belts, purse/wallet, seatbelt, bed sheets, pillowcase, work gloves, dog leashes, wheelbarrow, garden tools, pets, livestock or anything else you repeatedly come in contact with and don't usually wash with soap. Until the oil is gone you will keep spreading it around. Treating it makes you feel better. Stopping it from spreading should be just as much of a focus.

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    1. I have used rubbing alcohol before, and you're right, it does give some comfort. The poison ivy doesn't appear to be spreading anymore, it's the psoriasis that's spreading now. More so than any other time I have had an outbreak like this. So, this morning after I used the baking soda/vinegar routine, at Frank's recommendation, I followed it with a coating of Caladryl. I haven't used it in years, but the combination did take care of the itch for a while. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  25. Put honey on it for an hour a couple times a day then rinse with warm water.

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    1. You know, I have read many, many times about the healing power of honey, but I never put it together with this. Thank you very much! Sometimes it takes another's point of view to bring things you know into focus.

      Fern

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  26. I have no solutions but the photos made me feel so bad for you I put you on the prayer chain, it works for so many other things! :)

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    1. Thank you, Kathy. I must say, I am miserable. The psoriasis part of this outbreak is spreading quite a bit and is very, very itchy. I have never had it spread this much at one time. You know, when you wake up in the night scratching over and over? Thank you again.

      Fern

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  27. Have had allergies to poison ivy and oak for years. Usually end up having to go the steroid route to get it under control, but once in desperation I put chlorine bleach on the affected area. Killed the itch and dried up the blister almost immediately. Not recommending it, mind you.

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    1. It is very tempting. When the chiggers were bad in the berry patch, when I was a kid, we would come in and go straight for the bleach bottle. I would pour some straight onto a wash cloth, wipe it all over the places chiggers like to burrow, then take a shower to wash off the bleach. It worked great at killing chiggers. Maybe I will try that before I shower tomorrow......Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  28. Try zinc oxide ointment this will reduce the blisters quickly. Most diaper rash ointments will work too but the strongest concentration of zinc oxide will work best. This is a great thing to have in your medicine cabinet.

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    1. This is another good idea, especially to keep it on hand in the medicine cabinet. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  29. Hi Fern. I'm so sorry for your suffering. Our experience with poison ivy happened when Kevin, my husband, took down an enormous, mostly dead, oak tree, that was leaning toward our house, in preparation for a hurricane. He worked into the night to get it down and left it laying in the yard until he could figure out how to get rid of the gigantic thing. Well, our twin daughters, about 10 at the time, decided it looked like a wonderful jungle gym. And we didn't know that the huge hairy vines covering the trunk were poison ivy. So all day long they played on that tree, in their dresses no less, and came in with the backs of their little legs covered. We gave them oatmeal baths and rubbed on caladryl but they were miserable. I had been reading about the miracle of honey for the skin and we have our own hives, so I slathered their legs with the honey, it stung for a few minutes but I lightly wrapped some of Kevin's old cotton t-shirts around them and tied them on gently and tucked them into bed. It was sticky and uncomfortable for a while but they fell asleep and in the morning the honey was completely absorbed and the t-shirts (that had stuck to them the night before) were loose and not sticky at all. It looked significantly better and it didn't itch ever again. They next day it looked almost well. I never put anything else on it and didn't let them take a bath until it was completely healed. Honey is amazing stuff, a true blessing from our Heavenly Father!
    I would try it on the psoriasis too. But do you suppose that the psoriasis is an autoimmune response? Have you ever done a vitamin C flush? My alternative Dr. recommends them. Also, you and Frank may be low in magnesium. After the stress of Frank's surgery on you both, you are probably in need of some replenishment. Apparently, when we're under stress we use up a lot of our magnesium. One last thing, have you ever studied ionic silver? I am just now beginning to research it. It might help with the rash as well.
    I'm sorry to write a book, I don't comment often because I have a tendency to do that.
    I hope you are well soon!
    Kim

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    1. I haven't tried the honey yet, Kim, but I have been thinking about it. I soaked in an Epsom salt bath yesterday and applied a baking soda paste a couple of times. I looked rather strange, but I think it helped somewhat.

      Then I remembered a liquid solution the dermatologist gave me for my scalp, that I no longer use. I got it out and used it a couple of times yesterday and the itching is much better today, and I think the redness is lessening. Thank goodness.

      Thank you for sharing your book. (-: I didn't mind at all. I think the more we share with each other, the more educated we will all be. Having different options for a particular issue just gives us all more ammunition to work with. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

      Fern

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  30. I'm so very glad that you are finding some relief Fern!
    -Kim

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