my Poison Oak luck ran out [AGAIN!!]

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Chip Down
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my Poison Oak luck ran out [AGAIN!!]

Post by Chip Down » October 16th, 2017, 5:59 pm

No particular point to this post; just rambling.

It's been, what, maybe two or three years since I started hiking offtrail in the gorge. Super paranoid about PO. Long sleeves, pants, gloves, alcohol wipes and Tecnu. Whenever I feel a brush against skin. I look to see what it was.

I've wondered if maybe I'm one of the lucky few who are immune, but I've always played it safe, never got cocky.

My luck ran out. After a nice summer on Hood, the early snow forced me back to the gorge. Three hikes in five days, so not exactly sure where I picked it up, but must have been around Dog Spine or East Ridge of Dog Mt.

Started with a little itchy spot, maybe about a week after exposure, give or take a couple days. Then it spread into a line, maybe about 1cm x 3 cm. Blisters, now starting to scab over a bit. So itchy that it actually flares up if I blow on it!

It's on the wrist, which is a vulnerable spot if my sleeve rides up a bit and leaves a gap between shirt and glove.

Given all the precautions I take, I guess there's not really much more I can do. But now that I know I'm vulnerable, naturally I'll step up the vigilance a notch.

Warning to those who think it's not a big deal: This little streak I got is tolerable, but it would be absolute misery if it was on broad swaths of arms/legs. PO is not to be taken lightly.
Last edited by Chip Down on November 26th, 2017, 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: my Poison Oak luck ran out

Post by Don Nelsen » October 16th, 2017, 6:23 pm

Yeah, PO is brutal and sorry you have a case. Wind Mt. is notorious for it and the route you took has a ton of it. One of the problems with it is that late in the season it often loses all of its leaves due to aridity and it is really hard to ID. Still, even a bare stick of it can get you. I have noticed that Tecnu will wash away the egregious oils that cause the problems but if it get into even the slightest scratch it's effects are established well before you have a chance to try to wash it away.

I also thought I might be one of the lucky ones but I unknowingly wallowed through a patch of it at the ripe old age of 29, after being exposed numerous times over the years and never having barely a blister. That time though, I was covered in blisters and rashes and lost nearly three weeks to misery. Good luck and hope you heal up soon.

dn
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Chip Down
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Re: my Poison Oak luck ran out

Post by Chip Down » October 16th, 2017, 6:41 pm

Don Nelsen wrote:Wind Mt. is notorious for it and the route you took has a ton of it.
It was Dog, actually. Dog Spine or East Ridge, most likely. Perhaps you read my Wind TR and had that in mind.
Don Nelsen wrote: One of the problems with it is that late in the season it often loses all of its leaves due to aridity and it is really hard to ID. Still, even a bare stick of it can get you.
Aha! I was going to mention that, but forgot. There are still some leaves left, but most have dropped. So yeah, gotta watch out for the woody parts (stems/branches). Basically, you just have to assume it's everywhere. Even in spring/summer, it sometimes mingles with other brush, so you should never let your guard down, unless you can positively ID all the plants you're brushing against (e.g. if you're pushing your way through dense pine boughs, it's unlikely PO is mingled in there).

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adamschneider
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Re: my Poison Oak luck ran out

Post by adamschneider » October 16th, 2017, 7:48 pm

With all the crazy off-trail shit you do in the Gorge, it was gonna happen eventually! :(

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Chip Down
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Re: my Poison Oak luck ran out

Post by Chip Down » October 16th, 2017, 8:47 pm

adamschneider wrote:With all the crazy off-trail shit you do in the Gorge, it was gonna happen eventually! :(
That could also be copied and pasted into my "finally got lost" or "finally fell" posts, which are probably imminent. :lol:

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adamschneider
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Re: my Poison Oak luck ran out

Post by adamschneider » October 16th, 2017, 10:05 pm

Chip Down wrote:
adamschneider wrote:With all the crazy off-trail shit you do in the Gorge, it was gonna happen eventually! :(
That could also be copied and pasted into my "finally got lost" or "finally fell" posts, which are probably imminent. :lol:
"Finally got bitten by a rattlesnake"

"Finally surprised a bear"

"Finally attacked by a cougar"

"Finally found D.B. Cooper"

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Guy
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Re: my Poison Oak luck ran out

Post by Guy » October 17th, 2017, 6:19 am

I think it gets us all eventually. There was a time when I really did walk through the stuff in Shorts with no ill effects and wondered what all the fuss was about. Smug in my "immunity"! That all changed one day... Now I seem to be quite susceptible to it and more so with each exposure.
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Webfoot
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Re: my Poison Oak luck ran out

Post by Webfoot » October 17th, 2017, 7:13 am

Guy wrote:That all changed one day... Now I seem to be quite susceptible to it and more so with each exposure.
That's what the experts say, despite folk anecdotes to the contrary: exposure results in greater sensitivity, not less. :|

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Don Nelsen
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Re: my Poison Oak luck ran out

Post by Don Nelsen » October 17th, 2017, 10:49 am

Webfoot wrote:
Guy wrote:That all changed one day... Now I seem to be quite susceptible to it and more so with each exposure.
That's what the experts say, despite folk anecdotes to the contrary: exposure results in greater sensitivity, not less. :|

That's exactly what happened to me. I was exposed repeatedly for over two decades with only a few minor blisters on my hands and then wham, I got hit big time. I'm very sensitive to it now and have to be very careful.
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Guy
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Re: my Poison Oak luck ran out

Post by Guy » October 17th, 2017, 5:01 pm

Don Nelsen wrote: That's exactly what happened to me. I was exposed repeatedly for over two decades with only a few minor blisters on my hands and then wham, I got hit big time. I'm very sensitive to it now and have to be very careful.
Catches up with us old farts eventually Don :)
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