|I have a lot of experience with poison Ivy (exposed almost every year since I was about 12 years old, and I am now over 40) and I am very sensitive to it. I am currently having a reaction to Poison Ivy (from contact with invisible roots earlier this week) that shocked me and my wife and has forced us to postpone baby-making plans.
I went out with clippers to cut at ground-level some woody brush that was growing along the sides of the road to my lakefront camp. Poison Ivy loves lakefront property. The poison ivy living here is not growing as vertical vines and is currently invisible (early May in upstate New York), and so I assume I came into contact with only roots in/on the ground. There was a slight drizzle of rain and I was sweating some, so my skin was damp. Shortly after working outdoors, I masturbated with a hand-lotion product.
Within less than an hour after contact with PI roots, I felt burning itching sensations on my hands and arms that I thought at first must be dozens of nasty mosquito bites, though I did not notice any mosquitoes landing on me. As a precaution, I washed my hands with dish-soap and alcohol, and then one of the commercial PI wipers. I used alcohol and the wipes to wash my genitals also. I ultimately did not wind up with much of a rash nor itching on my hands or fingers.
But.... my scrotum soon swelled up to approximately the size of a grapefruit, and my penis swelled up on both sides to double its width. I could not wear pants, had to wear sweatpants, and it looked like I had a huge erection or something. I could urinate normally without additional discomfort. The discomfort in my genitals was a moderate amount of itching, and I did not get blisters on my genitals. I treated the itching with lidocaine/Aloe lotion in an after-sun product. The swelling of my scrotum reminded me of when my whole face swelled up when I was 12 years old, and for a few days I looked like a very fat Asian boy with squinty eyes. On that past occasion, I had been exposed to the steamy fumes from boiled Poison Ivy leaves.
After this, I got a worse and worse reaction on my upper arms and shoulders!
Today I was thinking I should go to Urgent Care and get a prescription for Steroid Cream. I think because my hand and arm skin was damp when I came into contact with the PI roots, I have classic weeping blisters under my biceps and behind my shoulders. Somehow, the PI toxin migrated up my arms and behind shoulders and onto my upper back. I have some bleeding there due to earlier scratching this damaged skin there, which is swollen with the classic liquid-filled blisters in such a density that the skin is swollen and hardened.
After 2 days, the swelling of my genitals has now mostly subsided, but the skin of my scrotum is now pealing off like thin brownish scabs and the remaining skin is reddened and raw. (like a massive sun-burn) Applying lidocaine to this raw skin now causes an acute burning sensation, which took me by surprise and I had to wash it off with water.
1) Assume you have contacted poison Ivy anytime you walk or work near it, and wash hands and arms properly before engaging in eating or any other normal human activity. Shower your entire body (cool water and proper soap) Then apply unscented antiperspirants containing aluminum stuff to nullify the PI juice.
2) Being exposed to PI juice while your skin is wet or while sweaty tends to spread the PI toxins further around the body than you may expect.
3) PI roots are much more potent than the leaves, and I felt a reaction to contact with the roots in less than one hour.
4) The earlier and better you clean the skin, even after having the sensation of a reaction, the less of a reaction you will ultimately have.
5) Contamination of the male genital area with poison ivy (even secondary contact from one's own hands) can cause great distress and socially inappropriate swelling of the genitals, and damage to at least the top layer of skin. Presumably, the enlargement of the scrotum increases the temperature of the testis, which reduces male fertility during that period.
6) Skin damaged by poison Ivy may die and peal off like as if due to a sunburn. The underlying raw skin may be ultra-sensitive.