Crazy Poison Ivy rash: I've searched our site... - CLL Support

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Crazy Poison Ivy rash

lynnsb6754 profile image
19 Replies

I've searched our site and don't seem to find any posts about a topic that has quickly become of interest to me - reaction to poison ivy. Does CLL make it harder for my body to heal itself?

I thought at 67 I was not someone who reacted, since I'd never had inkling of a reaction in my life. Obviously I was wrong, as I came in contact with it in my own garden, without realizing. In two days my arms were spotted with rash, and it seemed to be spreading. My PCP prescribed a 6-day prednisone pack, and at the end of 6 days the rash was much worse (full body, inflamed, wildly itchy) and my mental state was a mess.

I since found my way to the dermatology clinic at the Univ of Rochester Hospital that treats my CLL. They said I just had a severe poison ivy reaction, and possibly a rebound from not taking prednisone long enough. It was not a return of the guttate psoriasis I had 4 years ago. They said not to take prednisone again if I can avoid it, since I seem to have mental health impact. But they prescribed Triamcinolone, steroidal skin salve that I would apply twice daily, suggesting I could take a Benedryl to help me sleep (which I wasn't doing because of the itching). In the 5 days since, my skin has improved considerably, although I'm still covered with small spots of rash and bruises from unwittingly scratching the itches.

Does CLL make it harder for my body to mount a typical defense? My neutrofil level is still normal, and I've been told that my immune system is reasonably okay based on overall blood levels. I'm W&W, 3-1/2 years after diagnosis.

I'd appreciate any information about this topic, and even a little commiseration if anyone else has struggled with this little plant.



19 Replies
albie58 profile image

Can't say I've ever had a show down with that plant, but did have a bad reaction to a bug bite this year. Wilmot dermatologist helped alot! I can't say it's CLL related as I've known non-CLL people to have systemic reactions to poison ivy that were horrific. But perhaps you have become more sensitive as you've aged, or CLL was partly to blame. Just glad you got a handle on it!

lynnsb6754 profile image
lynnsb6754 in reply to albie58

Hi Albie!! Great to "see" you here! When I went to the dermatology clinic through Wilmot, they actually asked me about bug bites and thought it looked like it could have been that, too. But my pretty clear exposure was the little 3-leaf monster on the north side of the garden. Hope you did well in the recovery from the bite.

mrsjsmith profile image

If it’s of any help some time ago I posted about a strange itch and one of the US members suggested using Aveeno anti-itch lotion. Didn’t help me but on the pack it says ‘soothing itch relief of : poison ivy/oak etc…. might be worth a try.


lynnsb6754 profile image
lynnsb6754 in reply to mrsjsmith

I'll remember that recommendation. I seem all too prone to itchy reactions, like to any sun exposure. Thanks for your reply!

Jonboy64 profile image

I thought I had a bad case of poison ivy...turned out I was allergic to Allopurinol.

lynnsb6754 profile image
lynnsb6754 in reply to Jonboy64

Skin issues seem annoyingly mysterious. Four years ago I had a full body rash, and that, they said, was guttate psoriasis. I thought this was that coming back, but the dermatologist insisted it was not psoriasis, but the poison ivy. All I know is that it itched like crazy! Best to you. Thanks for the reply!

Ladylin151 profile image

My hubby has had poison ivy almost every year since we've met (43 years!) His reactions have gotten gradually worse and now he is also allergic to Triamcinolone. I'm not sure what part the CLL plays ( his blood numbers are normal; he has SLL) but he usually takes twice as long to rebound from anything these days and the poison ivy was another reminder.

lynnsb6754 profile image
lynnsb6754 in reply to Ladylin151

It's a little frightening to hear this, but I fear I'll have to face this again in my time. At least it's finally calming down, but the itching was wicked. It's a little less bad after almost a week of the prescription Triamcinolone, but I'm on the lookout for poison ivy, if I can possibly avoid it. Best to you and your husband! Thanks for the reply,

bulldozer4264 profile image

Traimcinolone twice a day, and Calamine lotion in between helped me considerably. The worst is over in about a week.

lynnsb6754 profile image
lynnsb6754 in reply to bulldozer4264

Been doing the Triamcinolone 2X day, and it's finally calming down. It was funny though, that before the doctor visit and fancy prescription, the most effective thing was Calamine lotion. Seems like an old remedy continues to work pretty well. Thanks for your reply!

RandyM profile image

I had a severe poison ivy reaction from my hand all the way up to shoulder. The itch was unbearable! I tried everything, even scrubbing hard with abrasive items such as baking soda. Heat from a blow dryer gave some short lived relief. I finally found an item that worked great! It is a mechanics hand cleaner! I rubbed it on and got instant relief! It is called Mean Green. Google it for poison ivy. I forgot the ingredient in this product that works. Hope you get relief soon! 🙏

lynnsb6754 profile image
lynnsb6754 in reply to RandyM

Thanks for the recommendation. Thank goodness, my rash is finally calming down, but I fear I may have this to contend with this again :( Still working on trying to figure out exactly what is and is not poison ivy, and my dogs can be bringing it in even if I don't see it! Thanks again.

RandyM profile image
RandyM in reply to lynnsb6754

I am glad the rash is calming down and hoping you find out what caused it. These reactions are common with CLL. My insect bites cause redness, swelling, itching for months! Good luck to you!

lynnsb6754 profile image
lynnsb6754 in reply to RandyM

And good luck to you, too! I almost feel ready for autumn, and a little relief from the green plants and bugs! Take good care...

Bikram21 profile image

I had a different but similar experience which caused RSS - red skin syndrome and lasted 4 mths. This was brought on by the six day prednisone course.

lynnsb6754 profile image
lynnsb6754 in reply to Bikram21

Fascinating. I think the prednisone was dangerous for me. The mood changes and agitation were extreme. Skin issues seem elusive to diagnose and so very annoying. Thanks for your reply!

BallyB profile image

Many CLL patients have a highly exaggerated response to insect bites and other dermatologic issues, so it would follow that poison ivy could be an issue.

lynnsb6754 profile image
lynnsb6754 in reply to BallyB

This makes sense, sadly. I better brace for more in the future. My dogs are happy to bring in anything they brush against, and I love to garden :( Thanks for your reply!

magpie-2010 profile image

I have experienced poison ivy issues for years. Something which has worked for me is washing with Dawn dish soap and cold water. The oils from the plant is what needs to be removed as this is what leads the rash to spread. Good luck and hopefully you can get out there soon to garden!

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