The Very Best Poison Ivy Remedy
— based on my experience, not "theory" or something I read in a book
If the reader has never had a severe case of poison ivy then he cannot comprehend the depths of this suffering. Poison ivy, when it is bad, is not merely itching, but pustules develop and they ooze yellow fluid continually, often as fast as you can wipe it up... and the poison ivy spreads wherever the fluid touches, even to different parts of your body, and the tiniest little spot of poison ivy, even the size of the head of a pin, can feel like a needle sticking into you, as well as the itching. I
I have had poison ivy on nearly half my body and it is torture. The whole plant is toxic but the roots contain even more concentrated poison—in fact, poison ivy and its relatives are some of the most toxic and dangerous poisons on earth! Urushiol, the poison in poison ivy, is so potent, the amount that can fit on the head of a pin is enough to bother 500 people! Extreme care should be undertaken whenever around it and you should always inspect any area your children may play and also educate them with pictures of poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and even Virginia creeper (which though not as nasty, can be nearly as bad—and all 4 turn a lovely shade of red in the Fall; but are still deadly; the vine is still deadly even in the middle of winter). It would also be a good idea to show them pictures off the internet of severe cases of poison ivy and describe how the pain is. A plant identification guide or weed guide would be a great thing with which to educate the family. Prevention is the best cure. Of course children need to be taught and constantly reminded that they should never touch any plant if they do not know what it is (or any insect, or any animal unless it is their own pet or someone else's pet, if the owner has properly introduced them).
If poison ivy gets in your eyes or if even a significant about of smoke gets in your eyes if you are burning it you can go blind; and if you are burning it and inhale the smoke you can get the same rash, itching, oozing pustules on the inside of your lungs. The same can happen if you eat it. It is a nasty, nasty weed. Some rare individuals are immune to it; I've known several people who in t-shirt and shorts would just rip off bare-handed entire thick vines growing up the side of a barn and not be affected. Rare individuals. They should allow tests to be done on their bodies to see what is in their skin or blood. I have never noticed poison ivy on my palms of my feet or hands (though it will terribly itch the webbing between your fingers and toes); some say that it is because the skin is thicker, but I suspect it is because of the oils in the hands and feet that counter-act it. I also knew one individual who said he built up his immunity to it by just going out and pulling it up bare handed whenever he saw it. I guess he liked to suffer; but he said he became immune to it.
Poison ivy does not seem to bother most animals (though if your pets get into it and you pet them it will transfer to you through their fur; this may account for some people getting it at times and not knowing how they got it; I believe it is also possible for gnats or flies to have been on the plant where the fluid was exposed and then land on you and you get it in a tiny spot). Deer and rabbits and other animals eat the berries and leaves and do not appear to be affected by it (if they were, they would learn not to eat it; young goats will eat rhododendrun and laurel leaves like they are their new favorite food; and more than a handful is enough to kill them; but older goats who have gotten sick from eating the leaves have learned to refuse the leaves); birds also eat the fruit and the seeds pass through their digestive tract viable and account for why poison ivy pops up in unlikely places.
I have also read that if you drink goat's milk from goats who have eaten it, if will build up your immunity to it; though I have never seen any real documentation for this (and of course if the goat was eating it you certainly don't want the goat rubbing up on you or licking you and you have to be careful about touching the goat or its collar).
I had poison ivy, oak, and sumac consecutively once, in a 3 week period. However, the worst time was when I had an old large apple tree fall over on my hayfield one winter and I was cutting it up with a chain saw (and being hot natured, though it was freezing out, since it was sunny I stripped off even my shirt) and as I was cutting through a hairy vine as thick as my arm I was [like an idiot] wondering, "gosh, I wonder what that is...?")... all the while the wind was blowing strong and blowing sawdust all over my neck, shoulders, chest, abdomen, and arms... and it eventually spread about everywhere... I suffered for 3 weeks before I finally went to the doctor and even then the shot of cortisone did not do a thing (steroids depress the immune system, so I avoid them; however, I guess suffering for 3 weeks also depresses the immune system; but I don't care to spend $100 for a doctor visit and $16 for a shot that "may or may not" do anything—my first bad experience with poison ivy about 30 years ago, I paid for such "professional care" and the shot did nothing and the "professional" information that the doctor, in a very affluent neighborhood in Philadelphia, gave me was that "poison ivy does not spread, you only get it from direct contact with the plant"—what comic book / box of Cracker Jack did he get his medical degree out of...?). They also say you cannot get poison ivy from someone else's blisters, only from the poison ivy itself. However, this last case I got, the ooze that travelled down my forearm from the current blisters turned into a patch of blisters in the exact same path and shape that the ooze oozed, even though I tried to keep it constantly wiped—and it transferred to my thigh in the exact spot that I rested my forearm on my thigh when reading a book once the poison ivy already erupted and my arm was oozing; though the shorts I was wearing when I was working in the poison ivy extended down to my knee.
However, though it covered about half my body, it did not have the oozing as bad as I had most recently (a month ago, and I still have a touch of it); the vine in the Winter probably does not have as much deadly poison in it as the fresh roots do in the Spring. However, the poison in poison ivy remains active and dangerous even for up to 5 years on a dead plant! I was carefully digging out a pile of rocks and mud in which I knew there was poison ivy roots (which of course had not yet sprouted above ground, as it was still Spring); but I screwed up somehow and really did a number on myself. As often, it started out very mild, and while I knew what it was, I thought, "well, that's not too bad, no problem"—but then it came to life.
It became worse because I think a rose thorn or two had penetrated my forearm (possibly even the day before) and the poison I believe got down the tiny wound opening into my muscle tissue. Where the thorns had stuck in me it eventually looked like I had been shot by a .45 and the dark purple wound started spreading out and I feared a flesh-eating bacteria. It got so bad and the poison ivy just kept oozing and spreading (in half a dozen places, though the arm was the worst—and I had rested my arm on my thigh once and it transferred to my thigh almost as bad) and even the arm itself was swelling up from my elbow to wrist, which also was rather uncomfortable (like someone took a bicycle pump and needle and inserted it into my arm and pumped it up beyond the normally recommended PSI).
I finally had to go to the after-hours clinic at the hospital and the friendly intern there said that it was just a normal infection. She wanted to give me a shot of cortisone, but since it had already been about 2 weeks I doubted it would help, and she said it would not affect the inflammation (swelling), rather, the infection would affect the inflammation, so I declined the shot. After 2 weeks the inexpensive antibiotic she prescribed (Cephalexin, 2 a day for 10 days) cleared it up (and the swelling went away, though sitting at my desk resting my arm on the chair would cause it to swell up so I had to rest it frequently in a different position when taking a break from typing).
However, the poison ivy I think may have gotten into my bloodstream, or at least affected my nervous system and aggravated an old chronic battle that I have with hives (see my article herein on hives / uricaria) or something, because I continued to have itching all over in many other places that would come and go... and a week later I even got into a little more poison ivy (or Virginia creeper) but it was not as bad. Even now, 2 months later, it is not 100% cleared up, and the infection in my arm, though gone, must have caused some nerve damage that will take longer to heal, and some scar tissue; as it is still a bit swollen and still bothers me, although there is no noticeable poison ivy or infection.
I will now list what I discovered to be the best course of action for the poison ivy, for anyone who may suffer.
First of all, if ever you suspect that you have gotten into poison ivy or such, stop what you are doing immediately (warn anyone else to stay away from the area), and go in and take a COLD shower (a hot shower while the poison resin / sap is still on you will cause your pores to open wider and invite the poison deeper into your skin; so take a COLD shower when you think you have been exposed) with a lot of soap (some sources say that soap may spread it; but that lye soap may help wash it off); several washings... NOW is the time to be paranoid and obsessive-compulsive. It only takes 3 minutes for urushiol (the poison in poison ivy) to penetrate your skin and begin its foul deed. The same cold-shower and soap ritual is recommended for anyone who was working with or playing around fiberglass. Some people may suggest bleach or ammonia if you think you were exposed to poison ivy or such, but you will need to research that yourself before trying it. Bleach (Chlorine) is one of the most deadly chemicals/elements, so its use on the body (internally or externally) even diluted should be very minimal (regardless of dilution). Straight ammonia was the remedy of choice for poisonous jelly-fish or Portuguese man-o-war stings when I was growing up in Florida; but I would research it before using ammonia either. There is also a product you can buy and keep in the medicine chest or bathroom cabinet, Technu. You are supposed to wash with it anywhere you think you were infected. However, it is a bit of a poison itself, since one of the main ingredients is propylene glycol (main ingredient in antifreeze); so I would not suggest keeping it on your body too long (though most roll on anti-perspirants contain it, which is not good to let the soft skin under your arm absorb all day long) and you would need to make sure the Technu is kept safe from where children could get into it. Then, the tools and gloves you were working with should be carefully washed down with bleach, or left in the sun / rain for a few weeks (and turning them over a few times) so the sun's UV and ozone and the rain can disinfect them. Then the best course of action is to fight fire with fire: poison with poison (using caution and care); a product that kills poisonous plants or a general purpose Round-up type herbicide used conscientiously (if around other plants you don't want to die or in your organic garden, you would want to be certain you get it only on the poisonous plant you want to eradicate, not the soil and be careful of overspray by the wind (wear gloves and goggles); or to prevent overspray, a small artist's paint brush and a small amount of the Round-up in a disposable cup could be used and carefully paint only the poison ivy leaves themselves, to protect other plants and the soil from overspray; then be certain that no child or pet is playing in the area until the chemical dries and until the plant is irradicated. Some natural products are also available, but more expensive and may work a little slower. I received an email that you can make a natural form of Round-up by mixing 1/2 gallon of Apple Cider Vinegar (I don't think the "apple" part is really essential), 1/4 cup of table salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of Dawn liquid dish soap. Pour into a spray bottle and use after mixed well. However, I have not yet tried this, so I don't know how well if works and if it actually kills to the roots, or merely kills aerial parts that it touches. Weeds are resiliant and will usually come back from the roots unless the product kills to the roots.
Later, when you in fact have been infected with poison ivy or its nasy step-sisters, when the suffering gets bad, a long hot bath (or shower, if you have no tub) as hot an as long as you can stand it (the same thing helps hives) with 2-4 cups of epsom salt (or more if you don't mind what is costs; it is fairly inexpensive at the Dollar Store or Wal-mart or other discount store, but you will go through it fast if you have a bad case of poison ivy); it will help temporarily, but the relief may only last for an hour or two (but sometimes less). Taking a long bath or shower will make your palms wrinkly; this occurs because your skin absorbs water. This will also help "water down" the irritant, to some degree; and anything you can add to the water will also help (bentonite clay to help absorb the poison; if you have an ozone machine, ozone may help neutralize it--stupid me: I have a water ozonator but did not think of it until right now). One source said that taking a hot shower or bath as hot as you can stand it will cause your body to deplete its current supply of histamine (which is what reacts to irritant) and will give you possibly 8 hours of relief. Based on experience (with terrible chronic and acute hives as well as poison ivy), relief that long is a dream from La-La Land. While the histamine may be spent (an no new irritation develop until new histamine is made), it does not turn all the nerves in your body off, so the damaged tissue will still be there and painful. After a good long hot, hot bath (over an hour; which can be exhausting and will get your pulse moving, so if you have heart problems, keep this in mind and monitor it). Possibly an hour relief after such a bath is a realistic possibility with very severe cases (of hives or poison ivy). Once the itch starts to return, pursue the options I describe below (apple cider vinegar, peppermint oil, etc.). Also, herbalist Dr. Richard Schulze explains how hot and cold therapy helps many conditions (and I used it to get relief with hives and with poison ivy; it works similar to the long hot bath, but in a different way; it is both invigorating and exhausting and a little harder for the average wimp to handle). It reportedly helps activate the lymphatic system, trigger the body's natural healing, and give temporary relief. You need to be on well water to have really cold water; otherwise, you need one bath tub filled with cold water and ice; and another tub or shower with hot water. You start with hot, get it as hot as you can stand it and count to 30 or 60 minutes. If using a shower, move all around and get it everywhere (head, chest, back, etc.). Then turn the shower water straight to full cold, or carefully (as to not slip) move to the ice tub. Wait for the water to get fully cold (it will take longer if you have copper pipes). After 30-60 seconds (count slowly) on the cold, carefully move back to the hot shower/tub and slowly turn the water back to as hot as you can stand it; then start counting. Do this for 7 full cycles (more if you are feeling inspired/self-masochistic) ending on cold.
[Nothing herein should be considered medical advice, but merely instructions on what I did that works for me. You need to be intelligent and make your own decisions and if you are not intelligent, find someone who is and invest in them power of attorney to make intelligent decisions for you.]
Then after you are dried off, take some epsom salt and put it in a container with just enough water so that it dissolves (if it won't all disolve, the solution is too saturated and you need just a little more water). When dissolved, apply it with your hand to wherever you have poison ivy and let it dry. It will help dry the poison ivy out better than anything to stop both oozing and itching. Keep that cup handy and use as often as you need it (or fill a small misting spray bottle, and that will also help prevent the evaporation from the cup). Don't use a cotton swab or tissue as they will absorb most of it and you won't get much on your skin which is where you want it. Slather it on wet and let it dry and then slather some more on. Your skin will turn whitish; that will be a clue that it is there and working. It will dry out the pustules from oozing faster than anything else I tried; and also be soothing--and magnesium is THE MOST IMPORTANT mineral in the body and most people are deficient in it anyway and not a whole lot of magnesium is absorbed when supplements are taken--but taking them is important anyway, on a regular basis, since your body needs it and you rarely will get as much as your body needs. Taking epsom salt baths is a good idea FREQUENTLY, even if your muscles are not sore or you don't have poison ivy... it absorbs through the skin (and epsom salt baths and oral Magnesium citrate—at least 225 mg. at bed-time—will also help with insomnia). Also, taking frequent baths with epsom salt is good for general health to help supply the much-needed magnesium (and you can even buy various magnesium gels and such online, but they will be far more expensive and any increased efficacy may be dubious); but understand that magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) is a salt and if you have dry skin, it will probably dry your skin out; don't let that deter you from using it; just be certain to rinse it off after soaking and use a moisturizer. Also, if you get your hair wet in the tub while soaking, you will want to rinse it out, otherwise your hair will feel like it does after coming back from a day at the beach... it will feel like sweaty, sticky straw (and your skin may too; so unless battling poison ivy, you will probably want to take a quick shower and shampoo your hair after soaking for a good hour in the hot epsom water). Epsom salt is a good thing to keep several pounds of in the medicine cabinet or closet; it has many uses, even internally, and directions for these various uses are on the label.
Baking soda also works in some of the same ways (internally and externally), and is also a very good thing to keep several pounds of in the medicine cabinet or closet (making sure it is aluminum free would be very wise, call the 800 number on the package before buying it if you have a cell phone while at the store)... it also can be added to the bath or mixed into a paste or liquid and applied directly to poison ivy to help take the itch out and help dry out the ooze. Try both and see which works best for you. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is also very important for health and a person should research the issue for its many uses: see also: Sodium Bicarbonate: Nature's Unique First Aid Remedy (Using the Healing Power of Baking Soda), by Dr. Mark Sircus, 199pp., pb., 17.00 + 4.00 P&H (available from me). Also, see my information on cancer here at my Health Bulletin Board, for more information about baking soda.
Also raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar applied again by hand (a piece of paper towel can be used, if you don't mind wasting it, and you will have to apply several times, letting it dry each time) and left on to dry will take the itching out in about 15 minutes and also help dry the poison ivy out (but don’t apply the apple cider to a cloth and leave on the affected area (like rubber banding it to your forearm)--though it may seem like a good idea (as I thought it was), it is too much acid over too long a period of time and it will burn you (it took some time to kick in, but when it did I knew immediately what it was, from my time as a carpenter doing wood floors)--it may be fine to do for a few minutes, like maybe 5 minutes, but set an egg timer or your watch... the burn will not be severe, but you are already suffering enough and you don't want extra misery; it is similar to but not nearly as bad as a mild mineral spirits topical burn; if you ever worked with glue down wood floors in which you keep a rag with mineral spirits handy to wipe up any glue that gets on the surface of the wood, it is easy by force of habit to stick the rag in your back pocket, but you only make that mistake once, because after about 10 minutes it feels like somone has lit up your butt with a blowtorch...! and it will last for hours; but the apple cider vinegar is not nearly as powerful and will not last as long; but it is unpleasant on top of the poison ivy; so remember).
Essential oil of peppermint applied directly to each spot will also take the itch out in about 15 minutes, and also be very cooling and will last for an hour or more... apply as often as you need to ... it and the vinegar and the epsom salt concentrate solution are pretty much the only thing that will help you get a little sleep during the night (as well as help you endure the days until it begins to clear up). Every hour or so you may have to put more on, but it will give relief, so use it frequently; the cooling effect of the peppermint is very soothing (initially, like Ben-gay or wintergreen / birch oil, it will have a warming effect, but not as strong—but keep away from your eyes, nose, and your privates...!) and it will make your room or house smell like a confectionary; but it is ESSENTIAL for the medicine cabinet. Lavender essential oil and tea tree oil help a TINY bit (and should also be in the medicine cabinet and are excellent all-purpose aids), but peppermint oil is a LIFESAVER in the case of poison ivy.
Jewel weed, if you can find any growing locally (ironically, it often grows in the very same places as poison ivy does), is one of the best natural sources to take out the itch; find it and juice it up. Even freeze the juice in ice cube trays and rub a cube on the effected area (but label the bag, you don't want someone making lemonade with these; you need them). You can also mix the jewel weed with apple cider vinegar or with witch hazel (but label every bottle) which will help preserve the jewel weed and help stretch it to last longer and give it a chance to work synergistically with the other products. You can also find some poison ivy preparations in the health food store with jewel weed in them, but they are usually costly and in my opinion don't have enough jewel weed in them. Go online and research jewel weed, look at various pictures so you can recognize it. It can grow 8 feet tall or higher in the right conditions; it has small (pea sized) orchid-like flowers, that are either orange or yellow with redish spots, and the stalk is sort of segmented like bamboo, but is more succulent; the jointed segments will be green and red. Look online for pictures (and be careful gathering it that you do not get into any more poison--and of course be alert for snakes, insects, etc.). Collect as much as you can carry. If you have a juicer, cut into appropriate sections so the fibers do not clog the juicer. If you don't have a juicer, cut into inch long pieces and put in a blender with apple cider vinegar or witch hazel and puree it up and then you can strain it after a few weeks (while also slathering it all strained or unstrained as needed) and label it and of course storing it in the fridge or freezer will help make certain it lasts and does not go bad. The freezer would probably be ideal. You can also freeze it in a styro-foam cup; when frozen, you can then peel the top pieces of the cup back so you can apply frozen as and where needed without getting it all over your hands and without it being too cold to handle or slipping and dropping it; and then when done (rinse quickly under the water to clean it) just put the whole cup in a larger cup with a lid and label it; or put in a zip-lock bag and burp as much air out as you can and put back in the freezer. If you collect more jewel weed than you care to process all at once, just wash off the rest and freeze it until you feel like processing it.
Witch hazel is also a good base that helps alleviate the itching a little (and of course Calamine type lotions may help, but can also be messy; and likewise, an antihistamine can also help a little, but will probably make you drowsy, which is good if you are going to bed, but not if you are working); but the other products I mentioned are FAR more effective.
You can also make a preparation in a spray bottle of witch hazel, jewel weed, epsom salt, apple cider vinegar, and essential oil of peppermint and spray on the affected area as needed.
A bath with oatmeal can also be soothing and helpful, but each person will have to experiment based on his own desperation. You can take a sock, put a cup of dry oatmeal in it (unflavored, unsweetened, unless you plan on getting hungry when you are in the tub--but I would not recommend it), and gently tie (so it is easier to untie) a knot in the open end of the sock; then as you take the bath, use the sock gently as a wash cloth, and after soaking it, squeeze the sock over the affected areas and the "milk" of the oatmeal will filter out and eventually the bathwater will become milky from the oatmeal and it can be soothing and may also help dry out the poison ivy (or it may not, I tried the oatmeal sock for hives, but the oils in the oatmeal may keep the skin oily, which you DON'T want; so experiment and see what helps).
I have also been just informed that if you can find an herb / weed growing in your area called "sweet fern" (though not a fern; it is a shrub in the bayberry family), botanical name being, "comptonia peregrina" - I have no experience with this, but I have been told that a person can boil it up in water, let it cool some, and then apply to the affected area while the preparation is as hot as you can handle it. Look online for photos and descriptions of this plant. However, most sources online indicate that a cold infusion in water is the method (thus, heating it may destroy some of its properties); therefore, if you have some locally (and it found is from Canada to North Georgia to Ohio), get some and try it both ways and see which helps more. One older herbalist (Howard) recorded it that it makes a very delightful tea, especially with cream and sugar and that children rarely refused it. Other sources indicate: The Native Americans used it to to relieve diarrhea, poison ivy, as a beverage, [confusingly, it is stated that they used it as a poison, but no further explanation was given]; to stop (presumably internal) bleeding; and a strong decoction was used externally for rheumatism and bruises. In folk remedy it was used for vomiting of blood, leukorrhea, rheumatism. It is native to North America; Europeans were unfamiliar with it. Its other common names are: Fern Gale, Spleenwort Bush, Sweet Ferry, Meadow Fern. It is usually found in sandy, gravelly soil on hill sides and where pine trees are common. It is rather hardy (down to zone 2) and will be long-lived when established; but some plant diseases (blister rust) may effect certain pines. It improves the soil by fixing nitrogen and some species of butterfly larvae will feed on it, as will deer and some birds (and some species like grouse and killdeer will nest under it). It makes a good ground cover for poor sandy soils. It is a perennial and spreads via its rhizomes. Another source says that it is an anti-inflammatory, astringent, emollient, stimulant, and a tonic and that the leaves and nutlets are tasty and edible and the leaves are good to season poultry and fish.
Skinner's vaporizing salve (or similar products that are petroleum or natural oil based) can also be very soothing; however, not only can they be annoying due to the caution you need to take not to get the grease everywhere, if you have poison ivy that has pustules it will keep it oily and it will not dry out and will make it worse.
Also, taking MSM internally is a good idea, to help cleanse the body's cells from within. MSM does not last long in the body, so it would need to be taken several times a day (but not near bed time, since it will keep you awake; and not within 20 min. of taking any medication, since it works like a chelating agent and will bind to and remove nearly any other chemical in your GI tract, bloodstream, cells. Most brands of MSM are processed at too high a heat and are therefore practically inert. Most encapsulated versions are laced with silicon dioxide as a free-flowing agent so it will not get clogged up in the machinery and so the capsules fill completely, and the MSM will then bind to the silicon dioxide and remove it from your body, which defeats the purpose of the MSM, you want the MSM to remove toxins already in your body, and waste matter from the cells. By way of example, you don't place around mouse traps that already have dead mice in them; the point is to place down empty, live traps to catch live mice. I am a distributor for what I believe is the best, most pure and potent brand of MSM, processed at very low heat, and organic (made from pine lingens from the coast of Louisianna); contact me for more info.
And while anyone who may have been unfortunate enough to have been kissed or caressed by this wicked weed, while you are exercising all of your will power to keep from scratching yourself raw, while waiting for the essential oil of peppermint or raw apple cider vinegar to kick in, meditate upon my benediction:
May the great God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of all, have mercy on His wayward sheep, and deliver us from our distresses and trials which are many, including the destructive and torturous effects of poison ivy and other related evil. Though God created the world in perfection and beauty, sin entered the world by man listening to a voice other than God's own, and evil and suffering and vileness and disease and death commandeered many things God created for our comfort and our good. The torture and disfigurement of poison ivy is a perfect picture illustration of the hideousness of sin. While on the outside, it appears to be a pretty leaf and vine, inside it is filled with evil, corruption, and death. So it is with all sin. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Christ, the personification of Wisdom cries out, "He that wrongeth me sinneth against his own soul; all those who hate me love death." God's Word reverberates throughout eternity, an altar call to all who are His and heed His Voice, "I have set before thee life and death, choose life that thou and thy seed may live." May all those reading this truly stop and consider. Despite the wickedness of poison ivy and a plethora of other evils in the world, evil is a choice. True, our ancestors (all the way back to Adam) may have chosen wrongly, and chosen evil for us, over which we had no choice or control; but the fact is that each of us often choose evil every single day; often it is very subtle, wrapped in a flashy, attractive, nice appearing facade; but it is evil nonetheless. Evil is the opposite of what God declared, commanded, and established. The fact is, if any one of us had been Adam or Eve, we would have done the same. Those of us descended from their genetic stream are no different than they. We sinned and chose evil in them; whether we can comprehend it or not. Any time anyone is ready to stop choosing evil and discover the truth and embrace it and sell it not and allow that truth to free them, they cycle can be broken and God can do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think. It is all a matter of faith and obedience. Those who hear His Voice, hearken to it; don't delay; don't harden your heart. Seek Him while He may be found. If you think a REALLY nasty case of poison ivy is torturous, believe me, you don't want to wake up in Hell without any hope of deliverance or healing. While anti-intellectuals who have been brainwashed into pooh-poohing such ideas (having never even truly studied the facts that they have attempted to destroy), only one question remains: Is it wise to play Russian Roulette with your soul...? Some anti-intellectuals say that if Hell is real, they can "handle it." Really...? If Hell is exactly as God said that it is, how well could they handle being in a car accident in which the gasoline tank has ruptured and saturated them and they are burning to death in unspeakable agony—how well could they "handle that" for all Eternity. Those who scoff at such a notion are fools to refuse to believe reality simply because it is something they don't want to be true. If there is the slightest chance that the Bible is true and Hell is exactly what God said it is, does it not behoove you to cry out to the God of the universe: "God, if You exist please reveal Yourself to me. If You exist, I would be a fool to oppose you. Please forgive me of my sins. Save me. Please apply the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross for my sins and change my life and cause me to live in newness of life in a manner pleasing to you and in grattitude of so great a salvation given freely. Please reveal Yourself to me and place within me the desire to study Your Word, learn of You, and be transformed into conformity with Your Will. Amen."
I hope these ideas have been helpful and can help alleviate someone's suffering. This took a couple hours to write so if anyone appreciates the info and if you benefit from it (and I KNOW this information is a life-saver; I suffered over a month and without this I would have suffered 10x more)... please show your appreciation.