Lockdown Smackdown!

Here is the story in the victim's own words:

"It was late March in 2020, the year of the lockdown. Cabin fever was getting to me. Since all gyms were closed, I decided to go for a swim in the nearby river. I got to the water's edge to change into my swim suit, and didn't think anything of hanging my clothes on a fallen tree by the shore. It was still winter, I didn't think I had to worry about any plants.

I had a nice swim, but the next day, I developed the worst rash from hell I've ever had... and I've had severe poison ivy before. It not only affected my whole body, but it was so bad on the left side of my stomach that I developed internal swelling around my hip and back, which aggravated sciatica, which gave me pretty bad pain and some numbness going down my leg. I was put on antibiotics and cortocosteroids as a result. It was awful.

The rash in the worst spots seeped like I have never seen a rash seep before, went through bandages, clothing, and in to my bed. Still itchy a month later, still scarred, and hip still bothers me, though not as much."

Editor's note: The two top photos show a massive poison ivy vine, but without leaves. There is not much, if any, urushiol oil on the surface of all that bark. The problem is the single broken vine: the oil with the urushiol has oozed out and THAT is where our hero hung his shirt. He then got the oil all over his torso when putting the shirt back on, and probably rubbed the oil deep into his skin on the way home.

He might have gotten a little rash from the bare woody vines, but that broken branch with the oil seeping out? That is what got to him. 

And by the way, the urushiol oil in the poison ivy and poison oak sap does turn black after about a half hour, which is one way to check on a plant if you don't want to buy our test kits.