Target, You Have Failed Me

I have poison ivy, in case you didn’t already know. I am bordering on the “seek a medical opinion” phase, so I did. On Facebook, of course. Wait. Where do you get your medical advice? Dr. Facebook has no copay. The only cost is your soul.

I got some great ideas. I liked sj’s suggestion to put calamine lotion in the fridge. My mom recommended a giant scratch-fest, followed by a dousing in rubbing alcohol. I liked the scratching part, anyway. Another friend suggested a pricey remedy that was ten times the cost of a bottle of calamine. And I went to Target to find it.

I was sorely (itchily?) disappointed. They do indeed have an entire section devoted specifically to “itching,” but it consists only of hydrocortisone creams in varying strengths and the cheap pink stuff. Thinking I was missing the “Sure fire, instantaneous cures for all things itchy” aisle, I went to the pharmacist. She shook her head. “That’s all we have. Hydrocortisone is what’s recommended, anyway.” Target, you have missed the boat, here. Do you not realize I was willing to pay $20 for a tube of hope? Who cares if it actually worked? It’s like Santa Claus. The power is in the believing.

I sent my husband out later in search of the magic ointment. The drug store is within walking distance of our house. I knew I was up a creek when he didn’t return for an hour. He handed me the bag, which contained calamine lotion. And a bottle of rubbing alcohol. Shame-faced, he told me he had, indeed, found the potion I had sent him for. And he asked me to guess how much it cost. Um, $20? Try $40. A single package of this amazing remedy would cost as much as a nice dinner out for the entire family. Yeah, no.

So how does the story end? With the bottle of alcohol and a most delicious scratch- frenzy. Cheap and satisfying, and I still have money left over to have a great dinner!

It is no coincidence that the first "o" looks like a heart.Want to hear something weird? My mom just told me that I was actually supposed to put the alcohol on my skin. But wouldn't that burn?


68 thoughts on “Target, You Have Failed Me

  1. I’ve heard banana peels but haven’t tried it. I’ve been putting cold water on it then standing in front of a fan, followed by Aveeno concentrated anti-itch. It’s been working wonders. It’s finally starting to dry up. Better than any remedy I have tried. Good luck…Happy itching.

  2. $40? Daaaang! Yeah I like your plan of alcohol and scratching better – so much more satisfying anyway. I don’t remember having a reaction to poison ivy for that long, it’s been days right? Craziness. Hoping calamine lotion helps!

    • I’ll scratch with one hand, type with the other. I just hope all my posts don’t say the same thing. Like “OOOOOOOHHHHHH! That’s the spot!” Could be embarrassing.

  3. Ok, I have a remedy and it’s cheap and it works. You’ll have to trust me on this. Take baking soda and vinegar (regular clear household stuff) and make a paste. Plaster your poison ivy with the paste and let it dry. It will kind of harden and be generally nasty and you’ll smell bad, but hey, it’s cheap and it works. Try to remember that. Then when it’s dry, take a wet washcloth and rub your skin hard under running water until it’s clean and the nasty paste is gone. It is the longest lasting relief for extreme itch that I’ve found. Try it. Seriously.

    Best of luck to you. Hope you feel better soon.

      • Just have to add that vinegar is great for lots of things. Clean your stove. Clean your coffee pot. But best of all: as a safe defoliant instead of poisonous roundup. We have a gravel drive, and grass and weeds come up. But we don’t want to poison our pets or contaminate the ground or our well. We spray with vinegar. Weeds dry up.

      • Just had to toss my two-cents in on the vinegar issue – in Canada we eat it. Mostly on fish and chips but other foods as well. Crazy, eh?

  4. I always take leftover doses of prednisone. Its prescription of course, but my kids never finish it off and I always save it because years ago my doctor gave me a Rx for it. She said it was the strongest antihistamine there is. Like Benadryl times a thousand. I was only supposed to take it 5 days a month, sparingly, and for the year or so I did that it totally knocked my allergies under control (which had never been under control). So now the leftovers are what I use when things like poison ivy get me….

  5. My grandfather used to tell a story about cleaning a fence row with his uncle and encountering poison ivy. To prove his toughness, his uncle rubbed it on a sensitive area. It was a poor decision.

  6. I think that what you’re looking for is an English pharmacy. Or perhaps an Australian one.

    For future poison ivy/oak encounters, try washing as soon as possible afterward using Fels Naptha soap. And use Tide on your clothes. I’m not sure any of that will help now, but it might be useful for future reference.

    • Thanks! Now that I know it hates me, I will be using Dawn liquid after any gardening attempts. That stuff breaks up all kinds of oils. I didn’t know about Tide, though. Must get some!

  7. I was going to suggest the rhus tox, as well. It seems to be more effective at the beginning of an outbreak, but it’s worth a ‘shot’ or worth not getting a shot. I purchase mine at the health food store or Whole Foods. I think the cost is around $6 for the homeopathic remedy.

  8. They sell generic brand packets of oatmeal bath right next to the Aveeno oatmeal bath (in the bath section, not the drug section) that is very soothing and relaxing and smells heavenly. After you get out, your skin will be soothed for hours and you will smell delicious 🙂

  9. So sorry, my “reader” tab is not working and I’m missing out on stuff all over WP !!! Yes, I agree putting the alcohol on your skin would just be silly! Hope you’re feeling better soon…

  10. try aloe vera gel and put it in the fridge before you put it on. also try sitting in an oatmeal bath. hopefully it will help, even just a little.

  11. Oh, poor BC! I can’t even imagine! I’ve heard as many remedies as all your readers have listed but who knows what works. Just be careful not to spread it will rubbing whatever latest potion you’re using Especiall keep your hands away from your eyes and whip down your keyboard with some disenfectant.

    Get well soon!

  12. Alcohol is a perfect remedy. Forget the Calamine (who wants to be pink?) or Clorox (there’s a good reason for the “danger” not “warning” label). And microwave-steamed hot rags. As hot as you can stand. They do work — better than cold.

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