Sunday, October 14, 2012

How I Survived Poison Oak/Ivy

update:  it's 2014 and the darned stuff resurfaces still, now and then, in patches in entirely different places than where i contracted it in 2012.  i'm guessing it's from my childhood experiences, when i used products that shoved the poison into my body.  i try to celebrate its release, though it is extremely frustrating to have to live through the horror of it again and again.  after speaking with someone who lived in california and encountered poison oak regularly, i tried his method which is somewhat counterintuitive, especially for those who've studied tcm, but actually did help a lot.  he recommended taking as hot a shower as you can handle ... it definitely burns, but in a hurts-so-good kind of way.  then finish with a cold shower.  the rash doesn't seem to heal any faster, the stuff seems to need at least 2 weeks to run its course, but the hot/cold shower definitely takes the itch away for long enough to get a couple of hours of sleep, or to function without wanting to crawl out of your skin.  

I’m not a health practitioner, I’m not offering this information as medical advice.  I've survived Poison Oak with natural healing methods, and my motive is to share what I've learned.

The best survival tactic is avoidance – the plant has three almond shaped leaflets that grow together, thus the old adage “leaves of three, let them be.” Both poison oak and poison ivy produce uroshiol, and even their bare branches or roots can trigger an allergic reaction.  If you’re not good at plant identification, or for extra protection, cover your legs and wear shoes or boots when hiking, use gloves when reaching into bushes or pulling roots.

It may take several hours for symptoms to appear, which means you might transfer the poison to other surfaces without realizing.  The plant resin, the uroshiol, remains active for up to a year.  If you realize you’ve had contact with the plant, don’t touch anything.  Wash with soap and water immediately.  If you transfer the plant resin to other surfaces, wash those immediately too, in hot water.  Animals are not affected by the uroshiol, so petting your dog and then scratching your face is another way the poison can be transferred.  The stuff that oozes out of the rash, is not contagious, just the original plant resin.

If you have access to a doctor, go get a diagnosis to be sure that’s what you’re dealing with.  I was diagnosed with “contact dermatitis.”  You can proceed with the allopathic course of action if you choose, typically they’ll prescribe steroid creams, cortisone, and antihistamines.  All this will mask the underlying issue and drive the poison into your body where it’ll be stored and might resurface months or years later.  Plus, you'll then be asking your body to eliminate the steroid or cortisone you've now added to it.  And if you check the side effects of the prescribed medications you’ll find “contact dermatitis” among them.  I just don’t get why it’s a good idea to take a product with a side effect that’s exactly the same as the condition I’m trying to treat.

A preferred course of action will lead you to a world of treatment alternatives.  Your recovery time may be a little bit longer than the allopathic route, but your body have a much better chance of clearing out the poison.  Alternative/complimentary healing is about supporting your own body’s immune mechanisms as it eliminates the poison.  It’s about have having faith in your own ability to heal, and providing your body with whatever it needs in order to take care of itself.  You’ll emerge with a stronger immune system and the knowledge that you’re clear of the poison.

If you want to heal naturally, prepare yourself psychologically for a healing routine that could take a week or two.  Cancel your appointments, get a leave from work.  Your sleep patterns will be disrupted because you're so busy trying not to think about how itchy you are.

Here’s what I found useful:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Protests end National Gallery's arms trade links

The National Gallery's long-standing sponsorship arrangement with weapons manufacturer Finmeccanica has ended, following a campaign by Campaign Against Arms Trade to 'Disarm the Gallery.' The arrangement has been terminated one year early and just weeks before the next protest event was planned. Read more.