|My husband reacts very badly to poison oak, which is unfortunate since we live on five acres that are infested with it, so every time he does work on the property he gets exposed to the stuff. The first time he had it so badly that his hand swelled to about three times its normal size and his arm looked like it had been dipped in a vat of boiling oil.
Ever since then, he reacts really strangely to it, to the extent where I'm starting to suspect he might have some kind of psychosomatic reaction. For example, he may touch poison oak on his arm and break out there, but a few days later he will suddenly have the rash in all the places where he has, in the past, had a severe reaction (even though he didn't touch poison oak on any of those body parts). Some of those body parts are very well covered while he is out working (his belly-button, for example), so it seems impossible that he could have touched the plant there.
He seems to think that his body is "harboring the oils" in those places, and the oils get activated whenever he touches poison oak with some other body part, which sounds ridiculous to me. I think he just starts scratching all those other body parts when he breaks out with the first reaction and then spreads it around that way, but I've read that you can't spread it by scratching. So I'm baffled as to how he might get it in the same places over and over again.
This weekend, for example, he did some yard work and claims he was very, very careful not to touch any poison oak. But alas, he now has it all over his body. I believe him when he says he was careful (if I got it that badly, I'd be careful too). He says he touched *other* plants--is it possible the oil was on the leaves of plants that grow *next* to poison oak and he got it that way? Or might it actually be possible to have a psychosomatic reaction to the stuff?
Thanks for any input!