New England surprise

Poison ivy cartoon

So, after moving to Connecticut (where I grew up), a rash appeared on my legs and wouldn’t go away. Finally went to an MD who looked at it for about two seconds and said it was poison ivy. How can that be I said, it’s early Spring and it’s not even blooming yet. Dunno, he said, but I see it at least a couple of times a week now.

Ah well, there were a multitude of black widow spiders in our backyard in California. I will feel about as much compunction over spraying poison ivy with herbicide as I did for killing black widows on sight.

As for other beasties, there’s a few rattlers here, but nothing like southern California, as well as the occasional copperhead. You do need to look out for deer ticks, as they can carry Lyme disease (so named because it was first found in Lyme CT.) As for insects, rumors that the black fly is the state bird are frivolous…


  1. Getting poison ivy (or poison oak where I am) has nothing whatsoever to do with blooming; if anything, it’s an inverse correlation. The bare twigs have just as much or more oil than the lives, plus they’re harder to recognize.

    Two weeks ago I did a long run along a river, wearing a fairly thick long-sleeve shirt. I saw hardly any poison oak, and didn’t think I came in contact with any of it. A few days later I found extensive poison oak on the inside of my arms (as well as on my legs). It was raining for much of the time, which may have promoted the penetration of the oil through the shirt, but it just goes to prove – that stuff is mighty powerful.

    A word to the wise – Tecnu!

  2. Didn’t know about Tecnu, will get some. Thx!

  3. I second Eli’s suggestion of Tecnu. Best of all, it doesn’t require a prescription.

    Have you been wandering around in shorts? Shame on you. Not that your legs aren’t cute, but poison ivy is a disgustingly thick oil that will attach to anything, so it could have been something you rubbed up against. . Tecnu also has a cleaner that will get it off of you if you’re foolish enough to rub up against anything that has it on it, for it WILL transfer and stick to you.

    Best of all, don’t wear shorts, kilts, skirts, or dresses.

  4. Have no idea how I got it. Was walking and running on trails, but was wearing long pants and they are wide trails.

  5. Never heard of Tecnu… I’ll have to look for it.

  6. We always used a good old-fashioned bar of yellow laundry soap. (My mom was horribly allergic to pison ivy, so we learned a few tricks over the years.) You should have one in your emergency preparedness kit anyway.

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