Poison oak treatment while pregnant? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 04-02-2010, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ack! Worst case of poison oak I've ever had (have had a few times before). I am almost 16 weeks pregnant.

-Tuesday (3 days ago): Rash on my neck and arms
-Wednesday (2 days ago): Oozing started, and rash more on my face (cheek).
-Thursday (yesterday): Rash in new places (more on arms) and much more severe in itchiness. The right side of my face/cheek is very swollen. And oozing.
-Today: a couple of new spots (leg & hand)....5 days from when I think I was exposed. Feeling generally crummy- lack of sleep, blah, blah, blah.

I tried Zanfel two days ago, for a total of 3 times so far, and while it helps with the itching, it has made no difference in the severity of the rash or prevention of more spots. I went to the doctors (GP w/naturopath) yesterday, and she prescribed prednisone (hesitantly because I am pregnant & its a class C). Her concern was that it could go near my eye or cause more throat swelling (which I have slight symptoms of- hasn't gotten worse in 24hrs). I have not taken any prednisone yet, because I want to see if I can do without first and use it as a last resort...or maybe not at all.

I have taken some benadryl pills...which helps with sleep for about 4 hours until it wears off. But, I have to take 50mg to get any noticeable effect. Calamine is ok for the itch, but really, nothing is working. I'm severely uncomfortable and feel like a burning elephant man. In total, it is on my entire neck, right cheek, chin, some of left cheek, and about 50% of each arm.

I've left a message with my midwife, so I don't know what she recommends. What would you do? Wait it out? (How long will that be, crystal ball?) Take the prednisone (they do give it to women who go into premature labor, so the infant's lungs develop)? Any homeopathic or natural remedies?

thanks!
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#2 of 9 Old 04-02-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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I don't have any remedies per se as I usually just wait out my poison ivy. I've had it pretty bad before, once when I was pregnant with ds. However, I do have a technique I use to relieve the itching. Not sure how good it is for your skin but at some point I just get desperate.

I get in the shower and let hot water run over the affected spots. Start out warm and gradually increase the temp. of the water until it's as hot as you can stand it. You'll feel both an increase in itching and a relief at the same time. It's really weird. Sometimes I lightly rub the area at the same time I'm 'burning' it. Then I might do a quick shot of cold at the very end. I stumbled upon this by accident but have since read of lots of people doing the same thing. The nice thing is it seems to relieve the itching for hours afterward.

I hope it passes quickly. I know how miserable it is. Make sure you've washed anything you may have come in contact when you were exposed - clothes, jacket, sheets, towels, etc.

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#3 of 9 Old 04-02-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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First, if you're still breaking out in new oozing rashes, then you are still transfering the oil from somewhere to different parts of your skin. You need to ensure that the oil is gone. As the PP said, ensure that you're not "reexposing" yourself through towels, clothes etc...and there are whole procedures to washing things that will prevent the oil from becoming integrated into the fibres of fabric.

You need to get the oil off of you (just rinsing won't do it, and using soap will actually spread the oil). There are products that will remove oil, and as someone who is highly allergic and frequently exposed (I'm a field biologist), Technu is the best one I've found. Its largely mineral spirits [aka paint thinner]), and you apply the lotion to your entire body and rinse it off in cool (not hot!!) shower. I don't think this is counter indicated in pregnancy because it is not absorbed into the skin. However, I understand why you might be concerned about doing so and I would check with your doctor/pharmacist.

Given that you are oozing and still breaking out, I would highly recommend taking the prednisone (I would have recommended a dr. visit stat). I had a pretty bad exposure with a horrible (and extensive) rash and I was given a shot of anti-histimine and then put on steroids (prednisone) to reduce swelling. Once your body gets to a certain point of exposure it basically starts freaking out. I don't want to scare you but as your body responds and swells and oozes it can affect breathing (happened to me...hospitalized....it suuuuucks). Also, once you start blistering/oozing, you're at risk of scarring too (also sucky).

I would definitely take the prednisone...it won't help with the itching right away, but you're looking at 7-10 days for the rash to go away, and that's assuming you don't touch it at all (scratching releases more histamine and thus more swelling and itchy). Reducing the swelling should prevent any more blisters from forming ASSUMING you've gotten rid of all the oil (I can't emphasize this enough). Once you're sure the oil is gone and you're on the steroid to reduce swelling, topical lotions (calamine has always worked best for me and I could open my own drugstore with all the itch-relief stuff I have) and benedryl.

I totally empathize with you....I was close to jumping off a bridge when I was in your shoes. I can only imagine the level of suck it must be while pregnant. Good luck.

PS. It sounds like your reaction is pretty severe....hot water aggrivates this. Good tip on relieving itching: don't scratch, but slap your itchy spots. Pain and itch receptors are very close together so slapping (and causing pain) can relieve itchiness, but slapping/pain does not release histamines (which causes and increases) itching....my neuroscientist ex-boyfriend told me this and it works for me.
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#4 of 9 Old 04-03-2010, 12:05 AM
 
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I got fought a nasty round of poison ivy last May. The doc gave me prednisone and some sort of prescription that was like a miracle cream, so I fought it from both sides.

Your bout sounds pretty bad; I think I'd take the prednisone. Hope it goes away soon.

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#5 of 9 Old 04-03-2010, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the replies.

I am still just taking benadryl and seeing if it improves. And, of course, calamine lotion and oatmeal baths to help with the itchiness. I am pretty sure I have removed the oil in my skin, that is what the Zanfel does. The oozing has improved at least. And, I've washed everything I can think of.

If it doesn't improve, or swelling gets worse, I might take some prednisone. It is a very last resort, because I'm not very comfortable with the risks of prednisone on my baby (safefetus.com)
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#6 of 9 Old 04-03-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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Is there another steriod that would be safe? The thought of an outbreak on my face....ugh, that would be so terrible. After looking at the link you posted, I totally see why you don't want to take it.

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#7 of 9 Old 04-04-2010, 07:44 PM
 
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I would use homeopathy before I'd ever use a steroid while pregnant.

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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#8 of 9 Old 04-04-2010, 08:17 PM
 
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The hot water trick works for temporary relief by causing your body to release tons and tons of the chemicals that cause the itching sensation so you have some relief until your body produces more of them. However, the hot water also removes your body's natural oils and can damage your skin, so while it can provide temporary relief from the itching it won't help the rash and can make it worse. Same with scratching .. that's how I got the scars on my legs.

You said you do oatmeal baths, but you can also make oatmeal poultices for your face or any area that you can submerge in the water. Overall it sounds like you're doing most of the tricks already short of taking prednisone. Oh, you can also use an OTC cortisone creme, which is a steroid but the OTC creme is such low concentration it's not as big an issue as the prednisone.

Good luck.

ETA: I forgot, aloe will help as well. It will help heal the skin and the cold provides some temporary relief from the itching.

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#9 of 9 Old 04-12-2010, 10:56 AM
 
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Grapefruit Seed Extract is supposed to be great for all things rash!
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