How to Treat the Poison Ivy and Poison Oak Rash, Prevent Exposure and Eradicate the Plant
by Amy Martin
Everything you need to know about poison oak and ivy but are too itchy to ask
An estimated 50 million people endure the poison oak and ivy rash each year. Fear nature no more! North Texas-based journalist Amy Martin has a new approach to dealing with the urushiol allergy in Itchy Business: How to Treat the Poison Ivy and Poison Oak Rash, Prevent Exposure and Eradicate the Plant. The book emerged from extensive research and her lengthy experience in managing wildlife habitat. “Those 12 years gave me a chance to study poison ivy in depth. Identifying it, managing it, eradicating it, and treating the rash,” said Martin.
In Itchy Business, Martin advises: “If you respond to the rash like there’s a poison to be neutralized, you’ll worsen it and harm the skin. By the time the rash is rolling, the ‘poison’ urushiol no longer exists. Approach it like an allergy to be managed and sweet rapid relief is yours. Your sole job is to minimize the damage caused by the immune system’s homicidal, cytotoxic over-reaction to urushiol.”
The book showcases Martin’s philosophy of becoming a poison ivy ninja. “Once the fiery T-cell mediated immune response is on its allergic rampage, you must engage it like a martial artist does a larger opponent by deflecting and guiding its momentum,” said Martin “If you fight it directly, it’ll beat you every time. You must outwit the rash. Poison oak and ivy is our Zen teacher. Humans are the only creatures sensitive to urushiol. It’s so karmic.”
Unique to this book, Itchy Business relates 4 stages that the rash processes through and how to treat each one differently. Understanding the 3 Cs of itch relief — calm, cool, and constrict — is the key. The book details how to practice safe scratch and includes herbal and mineral-based remedies that alleviate the rash’s core issue: inflammation.
- Outline holistic and mind-body techniques for the rash
- Identify the pre-rash period when it can be halted or muted
- Logically debunk or verify common hacks and home remedies
- Offer thorough plant eradication methods and how to do it safely
- Systematize plant identification from root to berry for all four species
- Discuss modern options for preventing urushiol from reaching the skin
More than an issue for hikers, poison oak and ivy is the bane of forestry, landscape, and agriculture workers — over 1% of all worker comp claims in California are from poison oak.