This is fair warning, the pictures in this post show the outbreak at it's worst. Those with a sensitive stomach be forewarned. I can only surmise that I got into Poison Sumac... mosly because I didn't know what it looked like before it all happened. I am extremely sensitive to Ivy, so I did check the plant before hand. Either way... it sucks. Add onto that that I am fair skinned and redhead.... doesn't really help. On Thursday (one week ago) some friends came out to help me clean up the yard by trimming the hedges, etc. There was an area near the road where some landscaping was getting a little out of control. A small holly tree was being taken over by a wild vine. My firends had gone to work on the bushes, and I got to work with my trimmers pulling the vine out of the tree. We piled everything up, and I took everything down to the burn pile on the garden tractor trailer. Fast forward to Friday. I woke up, and my skin was already breaking out. Awww crap. I had taken a shower the night before, but I had waited too long. I took another shower. It didn't help. I broke out the Ivarest cleanser and lotion.. a little late. By the time Monday came around I was a complete mess. It had spread and was on my arms, legs, forehead, next to my nose, and a large patch from the bottom of my chin to my collarbone where I had wiped my glove. I went to the Dr for a steroid shot, and a heavy duty perscription. The steroid shot helped a little, but it really was too late at that point. I tried a bunch of different things. Calamine, Ivarest cream, Benadryl, hydrocortisone, and some ointment that the Dr Perscribed... Nothing really worked. The Dr Said it was severe and I should have gone to the ER over the weekend (I hate the Dr). I went online and read about heat therapy. Basically turn the hot water on as hot as you can possibly stand it. Bring the affected skin under the water and hold for 2 minutes. The itch will intensify and you will want to scratch so bad, but keep going. After two minutes or so, remove the affected area and pat dry.... No chemical could hold a candle to what the hot water did.... plus it started to dry it out. I am a believer in Homeopathy and I do not use chemicals as much as possible... not even on my dogs. So I took a trip to the helath food store. I picked up some Burts Bees Poison Ivy Soap, Aubrey soothing Anti-Itch herbal remedy, and a vial of Rhus Tox 30x. Those three things combined with the heat therapy have worked far better than any chemical I have tried. I do the heat therapy first thing when I wake up, then again in the sink around 10, 3, 8, and before I go to bed. It lasts several hours and since I have a long shower hose I can do my legs easier. So after 2 days of the water/heat therapy I feel much better. Only yesterday did I start breaking out on my abdomen where my shirt was touching where it was sweaty. And a few smaller bumps on my arms. I went to work today for the first time since Thursday (I had Friday off), they took one look at me and sent me packing on home... they said come back Monday. The pictures are from yesterday and today. My legs are the worst now. I used Thumbnails for those that wish to not look. The stuff I picked up at the health food store. So lessons learned: Always wear long pants and long sleeves... even if you think there is no Ivy. I have washed all of my bedding, and clothing in HOT water with bleach. I then threw out the shirt I was wearing... just in case. I haven't touched my shoes yet, but they will need to be washed along with the gloves I used. I also need to bleach the steering wheel on the tractor, the hitch on the trailer, the rake I was using, along with anything else I think I may have touched.... what a mess!!! Oh and one more note on the Rhus Tox... this is a homeopathic remedy. I could only get the 30x potency. From what I've read... for those that are sensitive to Poison Ivy; if you take the 30c potency of Rhus Tox starting in the spring and through the summer season it is supposed to lessen the reaction that you would normally have. The difference on the potency between 30x and 30c, one is strnger than the other I can't remember exactly, but it will definitely stay in my first aid kit!