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Old 09 September 2016, 12:58 AM
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Shifty Eyes Scientists Finally Discover Exactly Why Poison Ivy Makes You Itchy

Scientists working at Harvard University have only just now identified the process that causes your skin to develop a painful, itchy rash after touching poison ivy. Their results were published last month in the journal Nature Immunology. Poison ivy, as well as related plants like poison oak and poison sumac, produce oils on the surface of their leaves. This oil, called urushiol, undergoes a chemical chain reaction when it contacts your skin, but until now researchers didn't know exactly what that chain reaction involved.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/scie...vy-itch-cause/
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Old 09 September 2016, 01:13 AM
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Interesting.

My brothers and I are among the minority who do not react to poison ivy. So I guess for some reason we're not producing the same proteins?
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Old 09 September 2016, 01:32 AM
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At least not yet. I had handled poison ivy without effect for years, but one time I got a truly massive dose and developed a small case. Now I try not to contact it, or at least keep the contact minimal. I have heard of others becoming sensitized from repeated exposures.
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Old 09 September 2016, 03:23 AM
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I used to be able to wade through the stuff when I was a kid, and never get a reaction. Then I did get a reaction, in a mosquito bite: which I remember because people kept telling me I had poison ivy, and I kept saying no, it's just a mosquito bite which I scratched too much. Then finally someone told me you were more likely to get poison ivy in an open wound, which made sense to me, though it occurs to me that I don't know whether it's true.

At any rate, since that first case, I do get it, but not easily and usually not badly; or at least not badly by my definitions, as I've usually got a few dings and bruises at any given time anyway, due mostly to being a klutz who does physical labor.

It's my impression that it's fairly common for it to take multiple exposures before having any reaction. I don't know how that factor works with this study, or if they took it into account.
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Old 09 September 2016, 12:42 PM
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It's interesting, my brothers and I all have sensitive skin prone to itches and rashes; I have eczema, and one of my brothers has dermagraphism urticaria. The wrong soap or lotion can make us miserable. But we grew up on a wooded lot with multiple patches of poison ivy, and my brothers especially spent hours tramping through the woods - and none of us ever had a reaction.
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