Topical Relief From Poison Oak and PPDB

AC100 Trail volunteers, between Charlton Flats and Shortcut Saddle in the burned-over Angeles Crest
 of the San Gabriel Mountains. The Purple Poodle-Dog Bush has started to come in—
the creepy sage/reefer-like bushes in bright green. April 16, 2011.

While in the San Gabriels, you will, sooner or later, encounter Poison Oak and Purple Poodle Dog Bush (PPDB). I've been friends with poison oak for over 30 years.  PPDB re-appeared after the 2009 Station Fire. I'd never seen it before.

The PPDB lies dormant for years, until fire conditions burn off chaparral and manzanita. It then reappears, First it looks like a cross between marijuana and sage with oily lime-green leaves. As it grows, it sends up a stalk that can top out at 9' high. Watch out for the pretty purple flowers, which look like lupine, but stink like natural gas or decay. Do not touch. When the flowers die off in late spring, the stalks have dried fibers on them, which will fuck you up, just like the flowers.

PO & PPDB are prevalent from sea-level to 6,500'. PPDB is especially ferocious, and makes PO look like rose-petals. The contact-window seems to be much shorter than PO, approx 4-hrs, based on my experience. Yours may vary.

Now what?

First Defense

Fels-Naptha is possibly the least expensive and least toxic skin cleanser when you come in contact with Poison Oak, or the dreaded Purple Poodle Dog Bush [PPDB]. 

I stopped using Tecnu 20+ yrs ago. One, the price doubled, and two, I realized that as a water-based solvent, it was being absorbed thru the skin—and it goes straight to your liver. I found all this out when I had Hep A back in '76, but that's another story.

In NorCal its at all the Raley's, and here in SoCal I've seen it at Albertson's. Check online, etc.

This and a SunShower and you're set. Plus, you won't smell like Epic Ass®™ after a long day. Your call.

After scrubbing down with Fels-Naptha Soap, hydrogen peroxide is the next line of offense if you get tainted.

Hydrogen Peroxide spray bottle made from swapping pump unit from 99-Cent Store
generic window cleaner. I discovered that the caps are the same diameter/thread count.

I've got it, now what?

You've got it, the rash is spreading. Its catholic misery at this finest. Short of a cortisone shot for seriously severe situations [which carries its own set of problems] here's what worked for me. 
  • I scrubbed 2x daily, standing in the hot shower, I'd scrub with the FN soap.
  • I'd spritz HP on the rash site[s]. Let it rip. The spray-bottle is an economic irrigator, without wasting floods down the drain
  • Let air dry
  • At night, its back to pajamas and socks if necessary. The point is to avoid cross-contamination from sheets to bare skin
  • Symptoms last 7-10 days. 
  • A ferocious application of these techniques will probably* limit the spread of the rash. This all depends on your own body chemistry, etc.

Note: Chain-link fence and plywood sold separately.


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