Pauley Unsaturated

Poison Oak…

Poison Oak…

December 11th, 2008  |  Published in Uncategorized

Phew. After Nearly two weeks of varying degrees of pain and irritation, I’m finally nearing baseline. Let me start with the beginning.

Two weeks ago (the saturday after thanksgiving) I went on a hike in the forest near Santa Cruz, California with some good friends. We were hunting for Bolete (Porcini) mushrooms, which are absolutely delicious. To accomplish this, one must often stray from the clearly marked paths through the wilderness. Apparently at some point I came into contact with a large amount of poison oak.

Now, I am no spring chicken. I knew that poison oak can be bad for some people. I had a classmate in college that nearly flunked an entire quarter of classes because he got skin poisoning to such an extreme degree that he could barely leave his room for several weeks. I have been in contact with poison oak several times previously, and I figured that I was more or less immune to it. Wrong. Last Monday night (the first monday of december 2008), the skin on my right wrist nearly liquified due to an extreme reaction to the active oil I had come into contact with nearly 3 days earlier. This was without a doubt the most painful thing I’ve ever endured. Imagine having boiling water poured on your skin for three straight days. I basically went crazy from the pain, and couldn’t leave my apartment for around 6 days. It sucked.

My advice: do NOT ever ever ever touch poison oak if you can help it. If you think you may have just touched some, find water NOW. Rinse your skin with as much cold water as possible. Do NOT use a washcloth to wash yourself off, it will spread the oil. The oil bonds to your skin quickly and within 30 minutes, you won’t be able to wash about 50% of it out. Within 24 hours, you can’t get any of it out. More than 90% of the population either is sensitive to the stuff or will be sensitive to it with repeated contact. You do NOT want to find out which of those two categories you belong to.

Now that I’m feeling somewhat better, I’ll get right back into the projects I had to put on hold.

Jesus Christ did that suck!

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