Attack of dreadful Itchies.......


Guys, I have the weirdest thing going on and was wondering if it may ring a bell with anyone?
I spent all day Sunday in the yard hacking away at weeds. Monday rolled around and I had a few itchy welts on my right hand- finger webs and finger .. .. .. that it may be shingles?
Went to my doctor today and he said it didn't look like shingles and that shingles "weren't generally itchy".......(raised eyebrow because every web account attests to itchy, burning pain which is what's going on
Luckily I did not go there.......sure as heck felt like it.....
I hope you gain some relief very soon. I had shingles last summer & still have post herpetic nerve pain, which sometimes manifest itself as super extreme itching with throbbing pain ~ also lost plenty of sleep due to the pain


Active Member
doctor prescribed prednisone for 14 days. I took the first dose a few hours ago but am still feeling no better. Gaaaaaaaaa

New Leaf

Well-Known Member
Oh Ponygirl and ct I feel your pain..... I am getting better, slowly healing and at least not waking up with intense itching. Go for follow up appointment this afternoon. I need to get back to my garden but will avoid burr patches like the plague. I think that's what got me......Hope the prednisone works, for you Pony.....taking my last dose tomorrow. It actually gave me a house cleaning mania....I might miss the enormous energy boost but not the sleepless nights!
Take care!
Thanks all again for your thoughts and support!


Active Member
I am a tidge better this evening but still feeling like quite the leper. (Here is where my husband will joke, "You feel like a leopard?!" And my usual good humor is waning. I was told to take the prednisone in the mornings, as the wide-awakedness is a common side effect. I don't sleep well most nights since my mid-40's, getting more rest these days tho. I won't hesitate to grab some Zquil if needs be. (Um...did I mention...Addict?!) ;-)


Active Member
The pain became so bad Thursday night, and my skin looked more like lobster than human, I had some fairly bad moments of weakness and thoughts of reaching back into illegal drug use...Instead I reached out to my brother, who also has suffered from severe effects of poison ivy. His daughter is a UW Graduate, licensed Pharmacist. Through my texting with Dave, his wife reached out to their daughter, and my niece recommended an over-the-counter topical treatment called Zanfel. VERY EXPENSIVE at $35 for a 1oz tube. My husband and a friend of ours, sitting and visiting that evening as I languished on the couch, got up from our comfortable living room at 10:30 at night to drive 50 miles round trip to procure this product for me. In the words of our friend that night, "I can't stand to watch her suffer anymore" and off they went. Within 30 seconds of applying this treatment, I FELT BETTER!! Not cured, but MUCH relief! Well worth the price. Reduced my burning stinging pinching electric pain down to a faint tingling, and took the majority of the beet red heat out of my poor skin. Hubby is on the way to getting another tube of Zanfel for me today, as the effects do last about 12 hours but I am at the end of the first supply. Day 4 of prednisone still doesn't seem to be very affective. Zyrtec is hardly making a dent. Calomine was useless, so was Prep H. Zanfel is the only thing I've found that brings blessed relief. Hooray for Pharmacists in the Family!


Crazy Cat Lady
Zanfel, huh? I'm thrilled that it works so well for you. I'll have to keep that medication in mind. I haven't been exposed in years, but it used to be that I was immune to poison ivy and poison oak.

I'm not gonna go roll naked in a patch of it to see if my immunity still holds.

However, I do, very occasionally, break out in horrible, itchy skin rashes for no reason that I or my doctors can figure out.

Zanfel sounds like something I might want to keep on hand.


Roll With It
You might be helped by a cream or gel containing lidocaine. BurnJel Plus, sold at CVS in the first aid section, has helped my brother with poison ivy. I gave him a bottle a few years ago. My mom had him try it when he got poison ivy and it worked well for him. It is less expensive than the zanfel, though if the zanfel is working you may want to stick with it. I vividly remember having had poison ivy as a child and it was awful!

I was immune to poison ivy until I was about six, then I got a really awful case of it - even had to miss school because I was just covered. I have no idea why I stopped being immune. As a 4 yo I drove my mother nuts by planting it in her rock garden. She would get it all pulled out and I would replant it. It had such pretty, shiny leaves, I couldn't figure out who kept pulling it out, so I would replant it. She says I replanted it six times. She only figured it out when I accused a neighbor of 'stealing' my pretty plants out of the garden! The neighbor was terribly amused by my accusation, and was not at all offended, thankfully!

Now when we have had poison ivy we have had my dad get rid of it. He is incredibly immune to it. He once worked in a school where all the teachers had their plants ruined by students pulling all the leaves off of them. He brought in a big pot of poison ivy with a big sign saying that it was poisonous and not to touch it. He caught a group of boys gathered around it and it was missing leaves from about 1/4 of the plant. He lined the boys up and demanded they empty their pockets to find out who had it. It wasn't in any of their pockets. A couple of hours later two boys couldn't sit still or stop scratching their crotches. Turns out they hid the leaves down their pants. He sent them to the nurse and they ended up having to stay home for several days because they couldn't stand to have pants on over the rash. No one messed with any of the plants in his school again, lol! Dad didn't get into trouble because he had the plants for a science project and he had announced to each of his classes that the plant was poisonous and not to touch it for any reason and in addition he had the sign that warned the kids to stay away.


Roll With It
Info you might need from the Zanfel website about systemic poisoning by poison ivy":

Q: How do I know if I'm having a systemic reaction?
A: Your doctor will look for the following symptoms:

  • The rash appears in new areas after day 4.
  • There are breakouts on more than 15% of your body. (30% most certainly indicates a systemic reaction)
  • Your joints are swelling.
Your doctor may determine that your reaction is systemic and may prescribe steroid injections and/or pills. Steroids halt the systemic reaction but typically have little effect on topical reactions. If you treat the topical reaction with Zanfel and the systemic reaction with steroids, you will usually experience complete and permanent relief. Steroids and Zanfel make a great team!

Important: If your reaction is systemic and you treat it only with Zanfel, Zanfel IS working if your itch and pain go away. However, new oil will continue to resurface, and the rewashing cycle may go on for weeks. In severe cases, permanent scarring may result. It is important that you see your doctor to halt further breakouts.


Active Member
I did see the doctor last week and was prescribed prednisone. I am continuing to take the prednisone as prescribed, and washing with Zanfel 1x day. The worst of the rashes are drying up, but I am noticing new patches cropping up - just not nearly as intense as the originals. One big bothersome blister on the top of my right foot is starting to worry me a bit. It's not weeping, is just a big ol' blister and it's completely gross. Blech!!

Thanks everybody for your comments and sharing your stories.


Roll With It
The oil can stick to your clothing and other surfaces and survive for a year, so washing everything is important. Do NOT wash with other clothing. Also change your sheets every couple of days.

A company called Tecnu or Technu makes a cleanser to remove the oil. I know my mom used to put it in the wash with my brother's clothing if he worked in an area with poison ivy (he trimmed trees and often got into the stuff). It might help to use it on your sheets. She used to just replace some of his jeans if the area was too heavily infested in her opinion.

If you still have outbreaks this far after the initial exposure, it might be wise to ask your doctor about further treatment. It can be really hard to get rid of poison ivy. As a kid it used to be one of very few reasons you were excused from school for more than a few days. Don't EVER burn the stuff. One of my aunts spent 2 weeks in the hospital because she was at a bonfire where some idiot put the vines on a bonfire. The stems have up to ten times the amount of oil as the leaves, and everyone at the bonfire ended up in the hospital. It is nasty nasty stuff when burned.

If you continue to have new outbreaks, please talk to your doctor.


Crazy Cat Lady
Depending on what "pack" she was put on and for how long, it should include the taper in it. If she was only one for a few days/week, a lot of docs don't do the taper anymore, which given how I react to steroids, is B.S. They should still do a short taper.

As long as we're talking about poisonous plants, and these both are worse than poison ivy,oak, and sumac. Look up pictures of Giant Hogweed and Cow Parsnip. Both are relatives of Queen Ann's Lace.

Both plants secrete a very dangerous sap that upon contact with sun, causes sever burns and blisters. Cow Parsnip is the least severe of the two. Giant Hogweek can put a person on a burn ward.

Worse yet, the sensitivity set off by Hogweed sap can remain for many years. Both of these plants are proliferating like crazy in the US, and it's not hard to accidentallly brush against one of them. Unfortunately brushing on one is all it takes.