An Ode to Poison Ivy

poison ivy leaves

It is my intent to draw attention to the daily work life of techs and highlight some aspects that could easily be

overlooked by folks who don’t venture outdoors professionally. I’d like to briefly discuss a hazard that doesn’t often get brought up, but that techs nonetheless deal with on the regular, and help make indoors men privy to it.

We techs spend a decent amount of time in parking lots, but we’re also known to get sent traipsing through the woods on occasion. As such, one of the most wildly irritating menaces you might not consider is poison ivy.

Poison ivy: I know exactly what it looks like, and I’ve actively been watching for it every time I’ve caught it. I’ve personally picked up a debilitating case of it three times working for OES, but none as bad as Addison. Addison, to my knowledge, is the reigning king of poison ivy. Hail to the chief.

Speaking from personal experience, the worst part isn’t the unrelenting itch, it’s the blister creep. Over the course of several days, the blisters slowly migrate from their initial spot, fanning out across your legs, arms, and face if you’re lucky.

A lot of people think it’s the blister fluid that spreads the rash, but it’s actually the residual plant oil left over on surfaces you’ve touched before you realized you’d been infected. So, you’ll hunt for the oil remnants on tools and in your cab trying to wipe it clean, but you won’t find it, and the creep continues until you’re more rash than human and all you can do is paint yourself pink with calamine and look back fondly on less itchy times.

There is good news, however. Repeat exposure to the poison ivy CAN result in sensitization and a lifelong allergy, leading to increasingly severe reactions. So technically, as long as we techs are sent out into the woods, we’ll never have our WORST case of poison ivy, because our NEXT time will always be our worst! Silver linings.

Hopefully, this piece has been illuminating to some of the less glamorous aspects of tech life, and maybe semi entertaining.