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It is difficult to explain to someone who has never had poison ivy what a relief it is to replace a used gauze bandage with a clean one. Poison ivy is rather a disgusting thing to have. A bad breakout is sort of what I imagine leprosy to look like. It blisters and oozes and makes your skin look like it was burned in acid. And as such, it needs to be covered with gauze to catch those oozing blisters. But you can’t just cover it once and be done with it. It’s important to change the dressing frequently and keep the area as clean as possible to optimize healing. I’m getting over a bout of poison oak myself, and during the worst of it, I had to put on a new gauze covering every morning when I woke up. The old one I had slept with overnight was dirty and crusty and sometimes even oozed through, but once I had a fresh, clean bandage on, I felt immediately better. Yes, I would eventually have to replace that one too, but for the time being, I had relief. In short, I felt clean.

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