Poison Ivy vs Bed Bugs

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I went to another dermatologist today, and he took a look at the bites on my body and said it is poison ivy/contact dermatitis.
Yes, I did do about an hour work in the garden back on May 20th. But I did not get any red itchy bumps until May 25th, and that was only 1 on my left arm, and armpit and some on my torso. A week later (friday June 2nd) went to the dermatologist, she looked at the ones on my arm and said Exzecma, then saw the bites on my body and said looks like 'insect bites, probably bed bugs' - since I travel for work. Plus I wake up every morning with a few more bumps.
Today (monday June 5th) went to another doctor for a second opinion, he looked and said it did not look like bed bug bites. I told him that I scratched the bites so it might not look like it originally did. But he pointed out that I have 3 bites (2 on left arm, 1 on rt) that has a clear head/water bubble. He said bites dont cause that, and he just doesnt think it looks like bed bug bites.
I told him that I wore a shirt and pants when I worked in the garden, and I told him that I get new itchy bumps every morning even though its been 2 weeks, and he said that happens sometimes with poison ivy, it comes on gradually and can keep coming even 2 weeks later.
But he did say my scratching has caused the bites/bumps to get bad, so I have a serious reaction now, he gave me a cortisone shot and gave me a prescription for some cream and pills for the itching (atarax)
Could you take a look at the pictures of my torso and let me know what you think it COULD be. (I did not take pictures of the bumps on the arms and knees) I know you all are not medical professionals, I am just relaying on your practical experiance, so dont worry, I wont sue =)
Thanks!!!
http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i278/tforms1/1.jpg
http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i278/tforms1/2.jpg
http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i278/tforms1/3.jpg
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On 5 Jun 2006 11:32:46 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I don't know what it is, but have you considered that you may have contaminated your bedding. Urishinol can get on fabrics and persist for some time. my mom had problems that way.
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But it doesnt look like poison ivy (according to pictures I found on google)
Also, I stay in a hotel during the week, and this weekend I took out new blankets. Same result, more bumps the next morning.
Thanks
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Charles wrote:

That may be what is happening, or scratching with contaminated finger nails. If I even think I have poison ivy/oak, I coat it with Caladryl Clear Lotion. It dries clear on the skin, stops itching and seals in the poison so it's not being spread to other parts of the body. I use to use Calamine Lotion before I heard about Caladryl.
http://www.dermadoctor.com/product.asp?productID 1&WID=%7B7DD0C1C7-EB2F-4542-83C2-3C633088143D%7D Also at your local drug store
Just personal experience - I'm no doctor or bug expert
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

My son developed something like that when he was a kid and was told by a dermatologist that it was a terrible, inherited permanent disease that would not go away. It took six months to heal up then came back. Fortunately, an allergist took one look at it and diagnosed it as Poison Oak and prescribed a surprisingly large dose of cortisone which cleared it up.
He turned out to be able to catch poison oak just walking past a plant and it would develop slowly over four or five days, spreading each day. He did not need to touch the plant to get it! He could not go walking in the woods at all. He got the rash a couple more times, but each time he took a large dose of prednisone early which kept it from lasting more than a few weeks, instead of months. Then he stopped getting it. Has not had the allergy in years now that he is grown up.
Give the cortisone a chance.
--Jenny
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Looks like chigger's too me. In such case nothing to do as the bastards are gone. Which means the bites should get better and there is nothing to kill. As I understand it our bodies are just responding to an attack we did not notice. Hate them!!!!!
http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/hardin/md/chiggers.html
Just a guest as I'm no doc but I've had similar mostly below bely button level. Try not to scratch . Your Doc may prescribe cortisone cream. Could be an annual occurrence here but August is a time for viewing our garden not working in it except for fast forays.
The timing of you bites is much different than here in N.J. USA. Perhaps you are more South?
Bill
--
S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
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My understanding (been doing a lot of research lately!) is that chiggers mostly attack where the waistband meets the body. They like the tight surface. But Ive gotten these bites all over the body and some on the knees and arms too.
It looks like bed bugs (which would suck) but the dermatologist today was adament that it was not them.

I am in NYC.
Thanks
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I don't think it is clothing contaminated with poison ivy. I have had this problem and in my experience it would be one or more large broad patches, not a lot of little ones.
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On 5-Jun-2006, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I told you I thought it wasn't BB's. I kind of figured it was something else after our last conversation and you all of a sudden noticing more bumps. I had figured it was something that you had missed in your daily routine of things you had done. You never thought about the gardening because it had been so long ago had you? What is happening is you are scratching these and opening them up and spreading the poison around to new places on your body. If you can fight off the urge to scratch you will help yourself to end this soon. The med's your doctor gave you will also help to end it pretty soon also. The pictures do most definitely look like poison ivy to me. The bumps look to have heads on them or look like small boils, the only insect bite that will look anything like that is usually a spider or a stinging insect of some kind, not a bedbug.
I am glad you found out what it is and if the itching gets to bad you can always take a bath in oatmeal, trust me it works. They make a bath especially for that and they are wonderful. I have had to use them before in situations where I get out in the woods and get chiggers.
So you don't need to call out an exterminator for your home, that's a relief. But if you do ever need one for anything else let me know and I will recommend a good one for you.
--
I wish you all the best
Tim Wise
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I was thinking that I have so much "bug saliva" in my system (Im very allergic to mosquito bites), that when I scratched my shoulder, I actually SCRATCHED it, so it got red and swollen.

The reasons I am doubtful about the poison ivy diagnosis are: 1. I was outside for 60 minutes with a shirt and long pants and sneakers on a Sat. got a thing behind my ear, 1 under my armpit and 1 on my bicep on a Thursday. (plus I showered right when I was done outside, and I rarely go into the garden) 2. I have about 80 "bites" but only around 3 with a waterbubble head. Yes, it could be true that I had more, but when I scratched it got broken. But a lot of them also do not have the waterbubble head (when they were new) 3. I get at least 4 more every morning. I take a count at night before I go to sleep and count it in the morning, and I get more when I wake up. When I take the count at night, the number is the same. 4. Plus my dermatologist from Friday said it looked like bites. Granted, I forgot to tell her I was in the garden, since it was a week before and the symptoms did not start until almost a week later.

Is that true? My mother told me that if you break a poison ivy bite, the liquid/pus does not spread the poison ivy.

Hopefully....Im sure all Pest Control specialists hear this: "Im scared to go to sleep!"

Dont you think this picture of insect bites and hives:
http://z.about.com/d/p/440/e/f/2433.jpg
http://www.tumama.net/images/hives/hives_03.jpg
looks like: (left side of picture, my lower right side of my torso) Plus a lot of the bumps have been scratched and "burst" by me.
http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i278/tforms1/2.jpg
Prior poster above speaking about clothing with poison ivy: "and in my experience it would be one or more large broad patches, not a lot of little ones. "

Thanks for all your help! A lot of professionals wouldnt take the time to help out so much. Thanks to everyone also.
HOPEFULLY it is poison ivy *but I still have doubts =( * and not insects.
To be honest, I dont care about the itchiness as much, what has been bothering me the last 5 days is worry about bringing bugs into the house (since I get more bumps at home).
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The irritant in Poison Ivy is an oil. You do not need to come in contact with the vine, only come in contact with something that has come in contact with the vine. I once got a significant case of poison ivy by playing with my dog who liked to play in the poison ivy.
If the oil is on clothing, gloves, or clean up equipment, it could continue to recontaminate you even after weeks.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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On 5 Jun 2006 18:08:56 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:
<snip>

If you were hot and sweaty this may not have been soon enough for clean-up. I've heard less than 20 minutes for bathing to be effective.
<snip>

You don't spread it around by scratching the sores. This is an old myth that refuses to die. Scratching can cause an infection and possible scars though. It acts much like an allergy and is in your bodies system. Antihistamines can provide some relief. The most likely points of breakout are sensitive skin which came in contact with the oil. However, you can break out in other areas too, most commonly where your skin is soft and thin.
I have had individual small spots similar to yours and large areas on other occasions. My last tangle with PI was a mere year ago. I had small spots scattered all over my upper torso and arms. There were a few areas that looked more like welts. I know exactly where I got into it. I was mowing through a "nature trail" in our field and could see the plants 6-10 inches tall. There wasn't a lot of them, I washed up within an hour or so and I never got off the mower while in their vicinity. It was a hot day, I was sweaty and there must have been mowing debris thrown into the air. Some spots looked like welts, never blistered. Others did blister. The later appearing spots were less likely to blister.
Urushiol is really strong stuff. I've heard/read that a teaspoon full would be plenty enough to make everyone in NYC plenty uncomfortable...
I would be curious to see some photos of the area around where the Bamboo was cut. PI isn't hard to identify and would still be in the area where you most likely got into it. Especially of any three leafed plants growing 4 to 12 inches high. PI has alternate leaves with either smooth or irregular edges on an oval shape. Most other harmless three leaf plants have opposite leaves. If you take picts, be really careful and watch where you step and touch.
Here are some links for PI I posted for someone else awhile back:
http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/796_ivy.html
http://www.bio.umass.edu/micro/immunology/poisoniv.htm
This page is good for identifying the plant. Note I don't agree with all of the comments on it:
http://ncnatural.com/wildflwr/obnxious.html
Keep us posted on how you come out with this. It usually takes a month for it to become but a bad memory...
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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Leon Fisk wrote:

When my son got the poison oak on his leg, it looked like he was wearing a bright red sock up to his knee. No spots, just one contiguous raised red area. The first time he got it it was on his arm and trunk and was a large connected mass, too. I think he might have had some little blisters too, but I'm not certain. This was 16 years ago.
--Jenny
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http://www.alt-support-diabetes.org/newlydiagnosed.htm Get Your Blood Sugar Under Control
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But if I was hot and sweaty (pores opened) wouldnt I get the affects sooner than 1 week? =) Plus every morning more appeared. So it started 1 week later, and everyday there was at least 5 more bumps. Thats why I have some doubts about the PI diagnosis.

So your last tangle with PI looked like how mine looks? Interesting.... I hate THIS!! 2 docs said it was, and 2 said it wasnt.

the backyard has a fence, about 100 feet long. I was on the right side/corner (I hopped over the fence) Years ago (3-4?) a friend of my mother's helped cut the bamboo on the left side and he got poison ivy.

To be honest, I dont care about the bumps/itchiness/etc I HOPE it is poison ivy. Cuz I am paranoid that I brought bugs home into the house. THAT is what I concerned about. =(
Thanks
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On 7 Jun 2006 13:48:54 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

The reaction/incubation period between individual people varies greatly. A week would seem a bit long to me, but... Is it possible that you had some early spots and just didn't put together that something was wrong right away? I know what a poison ivy reaction looks like and quite often I notice it before it begins itching like the dickens.

Take a look at this site/search output. Near the top are several links to decent photos of peoples' reactions/rashes.
http://www.google.com/u/uiowa2?q=Poison+Ivy&sa=Search
Actually there is a lot of good, informative links to articles on that page. The more informed you become the better you will feel about it. Very few doctors are experts on poison ivy. Most of the people sitting in their offices don't really need to be seeing a doctor, so they don't really have to do a thing...

I still think this is key to putting your mind at ease or not. If there is obviously poison ivy growing where you were working it is a safe bet that you probably got into it. If you can't find any evidence in the area then you should pursue the insect idea more. Crushing, cutting, mutilating PI plants is just begging to get it. Merely brushing against it and not breaking it open to its sap is less likely.

Go look for the poison ivy plants. If they are there it is almost a sure bet that that is what you have.
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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But if the chemical irritation is bad enough that you get blisters that fill with liquid, the area is so sensitive that the mere act of scratching and irritating the area spreads the inflammation and makes it worse. It is not the urushiol spreading the poison ivy, it is the scratching and irritation spreading the inflammation. It heals much faster if you don't irritate the area mechanically by scratching. The itching may drive you crazy, but it will heal faster if you don't scratch.
Most poison ivy medicines just treat the itching. This in combination with allergy pills and steroids is about the only treatment. In any case, if you don't scratch it and get an infection, it usually starts to clear up in a week.
The urushiol is fairly slow acting. When I was in the Forest Service we used a prophylactic gel soap. We covered ourselves from head to toe with this soap before a shift on a forest fire. Then when we got back 13 hours later, we took a shower in a steam and washed the soap off. This prevented us from getting poison ivy everywhere except in our eyes and lungs. We had to wear face masks when we were in areas where poison ivy was burning since the smoke carries the urushiol in the air and it gets in your eyes and lungs.
Once the oil is on your skin and/or clothes, you can touch it and spread it around. You can get the oil on your hands when you take your clothes and shoes off and then spread it to tender parts of your body. If you sit on furniture with contaminated clothing, other people who touch it with bare skin can get urushiol on them. If you take a good shower after working in poison ivy with a brush and a strong soap it usually will remove most of the urushiol and any reaction will be rather minimal. Be sure to scrup in tender areas like between your finger and around your wrists. Some people have hours before a visible reaction, others have days. However, once you start seeing the reaction, it is too late to prevent it.
However, clothing that has urushiol on it can still spread the reaction. After working in poison ivy, I take off my clothes in front of the washing machine and put them in myself and proceed directly to the shower. My wife is very allergic, so I can't risk letting her touch my contaminated clothes.
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Stephen Henning wrote:

Has anybody had any luck with the product called "Zanfel"?
It's fairly new, and very expensive - about 40 dollars for a one ounce tube. It's a special wash for poison ivy rash. The manufacturer claims it stops the itching by bonding to the urushiol and removing it, even after the oil has bonded to the skin and your immune system has started attacking it (creating the rash and the itching).
I have a tube of it here. I have used it with mixed results.
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The washes work best as preventatives after exposure but before the rash. Nothing except time is a cure. Treatments just try to contain the itch, the inflamation, and the other allergy symptoms.
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Stephen Henning wrote:

Yes, I know this used to be the conventional wisdom.
But the point I was making is that Zanfel claims to have changed all that.
Have you ever heard of Zanfel? Have you ever tried it? That was my question.
I bought a tube of Zanfel a year ago to keep in the medicine cabinet when a friend swore by it, since I have 10 wooded acres with serveral patches of poison ivy.
I've had occasion to use it 3 or 4 times, and I've not been impressed. I was wondering if anyone else has tried it with better results than I obtained.
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Zanfels claim and only claim is: "Zanfel helps lift the toxin, urushiol, common to poison ivy, oak and sumac from the skin where it has come into contact and bound to the epidermis. This binding of plant toxin creates the allergic rash known as poison ivy. By washing the urushiol oil out of the skin cells, relief comes more quickly."
As one reviewer explained: "The scientific claims in the product description defy belief. By the time the symptoms associated with poision oak (ivy or sumac) show up, the urushiol has already been metabolized and gotten rid of. If you're itching, you don't need something to bind to and defeat urushiol, you need something to relieve the skin that has reacted to one of the already-excreted breakdown products of urushiol metabolism."
If you read reviews by users, you will find that some claim that it relieved the itch. Others found it did nothing. You decide. Remember most reviews are published by places that sell the product. However, by the time you can get it from most pharmacies or mail order, the allergic reaction would be clearing up on its own. Since it is very expensive many pharmacies don't stock the stuff.
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