CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Last week, as I scratched my itching legs and arms and eye and hands, I asked for help dealing with poison ivy. Whew, did I ever get it!
Thanks to everyone who has given me their advice: Sue and John as I walked into church, Jack strolling through the frozen-foods aisle at the grocery store, Melissa while waiting in line at the bank, Tim on the corner of Capitol Street downtown.
I think I've heard more about poison ivy than I thought was possible. But it must be a menace to everyone, because it seems like all of my friends and readers have suggestions (and stories) about it.
Here's a compendium of the advice I've received about dealing with the evil plant before and after you touch it:
"Don't know if this is eco-friendly, but our boys were very much troubled as youngsters, especially where it hurts the most," writes gardening enthusiast Ann Castaldo. "Seemed every place they liked to play was a PI hotspot. A neighbor who worked in construction suggested spraying chlorine bleach on the offending plants when the sun was strongest. It makes them shrivel and die. We did around the swing set and 'cowboy' rock. It worked, and after a year or two, the hotspots were gone."
One of the nicest folks in town, Sandy Zando, wrote this about her husband:
"Joe has discovered the best product to eradicate poison ivy - it really works! It is Roundup Poison Ivy & Tough Brush Killer.
"He is very allergic and, when we moved to our present home four years ago, it was in our yard and neighbors' yards and all along the street. It is gone, thanks to Joe. He takes great pleasure in walking around armed with this secret weapon and ambushes every poison ivy leaf he finds. He prides himself in following up on the attack a few days later to view his victory. I know Lowe's sells it, so please share with your readers."
Wow, Joe's a great chef and he's mean with poison ivy spray. Impressive!
"Also, Joe discovered years ago at the very first sign of an outbreak on his skin, he would soak the spot with Epsom salts two to three times a day for a few days and it stops it in its tracks. He pours some of the salts in a bowl with water and soaks the wash cloth in the mixture. He rings out some of the water and then lays the cloth on the spot(s) for a few minutes. It works for him. ..."
I tried this treatment, and it's amazing. It cools and soothes and, well, it helps.
Reader Rodney Jordan gives this advice:
"I hate using anything chemical to kill anything, so to speak."