An update on the poison ivy situation. I apologize in advance for the iggy nature of this post, especially since the iggy things described have to do with a human and not a dog, and therefore may be distasteful even to those of you who enjoy posts about dog poo, dog vomit, ear infections, and flea reactions.
I called my doctor and got some prednisone and fluocinonide cream. I wasn't crazy about taking something with so many known side effects...increased insomnia, anxiety, nausea, in addition to the main effect which is not a side effect but the mechanism of action of steroids--suppressing your immune system so the rashes and swelling go away. But I just had to do something.
Glad I did. The current crusty situation afflicting the lower part of my face is much preferable to the previous extensive scab combined with swelling, extreme sensitivity, and constant itch.
With the worst of it behind me, I can appreciate how much I learned on this particular healing journey.
A poison ivy outbreak, at least in my case, progresses from an itch in a small spot, to more widespread itching coupled with oozing blisters on the second or third day, to swelling, redness, blisters, itch, and hard lizardlike skin on the third or fourth day. After the rash has descended from its pinnacle of tortuous ooze and itch, the scaly scab takes over and from there on you're (relatively) golden.
The scab is due to an infection of the former blisters. I did not know that--did you? So the practitioner I spoke to said I should put a triple antibiotic on there to keep things under control.
If I had it to do over, I think I'd avoid the nastiest home remedies (including the baking soda, salt scrub, nail polish, scalding hair dryer, and hot water), and I'd stick to safe home remedies like ice and calamine lotion. And I'd call the doctor before I try everything recommended on the internet!
Glad I found some things that work, because its not like I can just stop kissing those dogs.