In a fit of wild energy the other day, I got out the newly repaired lawn mower and cranked ‘er up! My neighbor kindly keeps my main lawn cut but I live in the country and it seems like a little more of the country takes over my yard every day! Last week I heard a noise up back and when I went to investigate, I was dismayed at how overgrown the area had become. Small saplings were beginning to crop up and I wanted to ‘nip it in the bud’ so to speak.
I’ll preface this with the fact that I am allergic to poison ivy. I wasn’t allergic as a kid but now I will break out in tortuous itching when exposed to it. My overgrown area was (and is!) full of poison ivy so I knew I would need to cleanse thoroughly when I was done working. Over the years, I have perfected my cleaning routine after any kind of outdoor activity to minimize break-outs. It has been working admirably! So I pushed the mower to the designated area and began the slow process of mowing overgrown weeds.
I know that mowing is not a task that everyone enjoys but I happen to be one person that loves mowing. I wait until the temperature dips below 90 (dipping below 80 is preferable!) and do what I can to try and tame my landscape. I love that you can look behind yourself and see obvious progress in the vista behind. I love watching the mower cut a swath through the overgrown detritus. I love the smell of the cut grass. The sweating I could do without but even that has its benefits!
So I pushed the mower around for 30 to 40 minutes, making paths where none previously existed. I quit when, as it was getting dark, big fat rain droplets started falling. I put the mower away and headed into the bathroom to drench my arms and legs with alcohol. I try not to miss any exposed part of my body. I have found that this method of cleansing after possible exposure has gone a long way in preventing a poison ivy rash.
Normally, with poison ivy, I break out within 24 hours. I got past that 24 hours with no rash and I was happy to skirt the poison ivy symptoms. After another 24 hours, I had a few itchy spots but no rash anywhere. Now it has been several 24 hour periods and I am overwhelmed with how much my legs itch. Finally yesterday, almost a week after finishing mowing, I could see a slight red rash where the innocuous itching first presented itself. This is not poison ivy but some other allergic reaction to some other poisonous weed. I haven’t figured out what the weed is that has caused this breakout but you can be sure that I want to find out! I’ve never had this reaction before; there are no blisters in the rashy area, just an unbearable itching. The rash is actually pretty hard to see; it is light red and just a little darker than my skin. You have to know it is there to see it. Neither hydrocortisone creams nor benedryl is helping. So far, the reaction has slowly gotten worse day by day. I hope I am at the peak of itchiness now so that my body can start to reduce this awful sensation posthaste! In the meantime, it is time to pull out the weed identifier book so I will know what to look for during my next yard excursion……