Re: Poison Ivy / Poison Oak -Reply
Mary Lee Foley (MFOLEY@UTNET.UTOLEDO.EDU)
Mon, 12 Jun 1995 11:51:30 -0500
If you have lots of problems with poison ivy, you can be "immunized"
(quotes are because I'm not sure if that's the proper term, but you get the
idea) on a short-term basis. However, it requires a prescription and it's
not cheap. It can also be difficult to find. Details follow...
The medication is actually poison ivy extract. You begin treatment two
weeks before expected exposure and continue for the duration of
exposure. In my son's case, he attended camp for 6 weeks, so he took
the stuff every day for 8 weeks.
A clear, syrupy liquid is contained in 1 cc vials. My son began with 1/10 cc
on the first day and increased by 1/10 cc per day until he reached 1 cc per
day. (day 1 = 1/10, day 2 = 2/10, day 3 = 3/10 etc.) The only way to get
the stuff out of the vial is to use a syringe and the instructions that came
with it called for injecting it. I'm not trained to do that and my verbal
instructions from the doctor were to administer it orally, so I called the
doctor and questioned whether the pharmacist had goofed. It turned out
that I had the right medication; the syringes were to be used to extract the
liquid and SQUIRT it into the kid's mouth! That's a little scary, too. I was
afraid one of us would slip and he would be hurt, so I made him lie on the
floor at medication times during the first week.
I was given a (short) list of things to watch for at the beginning of
treatment, but told that reactions were rare. Brendan had no problem and
continued taking it most of the summer. He had a spotty red rash that
lasted less than 48 hours mid-dummer and never bothered him. I suspect
it was the result of contact with poison ivy, but can't be sure. The two
previous years, he had definite reactions which made ME itch! I highly
recommend finding an allergist who will help you if you expect to be near
poison ivy and are very sensitive to it, as Brendan is.
Oh, I mentioned cost and availability... three years ago, it cost $12/cc. Our
insurance company was hit for over $600 by the end of 8 weeks. Also, the
local teaching hospital / pharmacy had it but wouldn't accept insurance of
ANY kind! So after paying for 2 cc. to get us started, I asked my
pharmacist to search. Two days later, he finally found a source. So, if
you think you need this stuff, start looking now.
Mary Lee Foley
Pack 71, Troop 71 and Anthony Wayne District positions
Toledo Area Council, Toledo, Ohio
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City