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Welcome to Medical Monday
Today’s Topic is: Bug Bites, Poison Ivy, and other itchy things.
Your plan for the Zompoc is to hide in the woods where there are less people and zombies have to travel through the brush and make a lot of noise. Then you stumble through some poison ivy trying to escape from the hungry horde and now you’re covered in it. You can’t stop scratching and you begin to bleed. A few days later, your skin is all red and hot to the touch. You begin to feel feverish and before you know it, you have a raging infection. And all this could have been prevented…
You’re thinking, “Calamine Lotion!!!” 10 points for you. But you have to distinguish it from the lotions that have Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) in them. It would work for a few small patches of poison ivy or a few bug bites, but to put it all over both of your legs, the medicine will seem into your skin and you will OD on it. Symptoms: “Red as a beet” (skin turns red), “Dry as a bone” (you don’t sweat); “Hot as a hare” (you can’t sweat so you overheat); “Blind as a bat” (your eyes dilate and your vision is blurry); “Mad as a Hatter” (you kinda go a little nuts, complete with hallucinations); and “Full as a Flask” (you can’t pee). These are all bad things when you are trying to fight zombies.
So the same goes for oral medicines like Benadryl that is a “histamine blocker”. They have nasty effects when you take too much of them. They also make you sleepy which may not be what you need in a Zombie Apocalypse.
So what do you do? Well, you have to decrease the scratching. Just plain calamine lotion works well. Herbs work too
Jewel Weed (Impatiens biflora) is great for poison Ivy and bug bites. Just crush it in your hand and apply to the itchy areas, as a poultice. It can also be used in a salve.
Another herb is Plantain (Plantago major), and it is applied as a salve which is made from the leaves of the plant. I always keep it in my purse. You can get a little chap stick holder and pour the prepared salve (while hot) into it. It’s the perfect way to apply them to bug bites when you are out camping. You can even combine both Jewel Weed and Plantain into a salve. That is a great combination and a very nice antidote to anything that makes you scratchy.
Another thing to do would be to find a mountain stream or another fairly cool body of water and just sit in it for a while. The cold against your skin will help counteract the effect of histamine and will help with the scratching. The thing that would make an itchy thing worse would be heat, so cold is your friend!
Basic first aid advice: Don’t pop the blisters, no matter how tempting it is!! The clear blisters are usually sterile (no bacteria in them) so don’t introduce them into the space by popping them. Also, if you do find you have scratched an area raw, you need to clean it properly (alcohol or cold, clean water will do), and keep the area clean and dry.
Moral of the Story: Leaves of three, let it be!