Here is the link to the PCTA Warning about this little bush.
Poodle-Dog Bush, Eriodictyon parryi, is common in parts of Southern California. Touching it can cause a significant allergic reaction.
This pretty purple-flowered plant has been rearing its ugly head in the San Gabriel Mountains. Reports from the PCT are that the plant is widespread and sometimes unavoidable in the Station Fire and other burn areas. Turricula is a fire follower that thrives in disturbed soils. It does especially well along the PCT.
Touching the plant can cause anything from a mild rash and blistering to severe respiratory distress. It is contact dermatitis and can be transmitted in the same way that poison oak is transmitted. For many people, symptoms are worse than a reaction to poison oak. Symptoms generally appear hours or days after touching the plant. All contact should be avoided.
Unfortunately, long sleeves and pants do not fully protect travellers. You may contaminate yourself by touching clothing that has been in contact with the plant. Regardless, it is recommended that you wear long sleeves while travelling through the area.
Poodle-Dog Bush has a rank, pungent smell. Endemic to the region, Poodle Bush is in the
Hydrophyllaceae family. Many trail users would be familiar with related plants such at Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon sp., and Phacelia
POODLE-DOG BUSH SIGNS AND SYMTOMS
Unlike stinging nettle or poison oak, poodle-dog bush reactions don’t always occur in immediate contact with the plant. There is usually a delayed onset of symptoms anywhere between twelve to forty-eight hours after contact. Hypersensitive individuals will likely have symptoms sooner. General symptoms include streaky hives or small pink blisters where contact was made with the bush. Burning, itching, and redness will also be associated with the rash.
The stinging mechanism of the poodle-dog bush is through its leaves. The leaves are covered in tiny oily and sticky hairs. When brushed up against, these hairs take hold of clothing, fabrics, or skin. The sticky hairs are coated with an allergenic oil which activates the body’s immune-mediated allergic response. Most symptoms related to poodle-dog bush exposure last anywhere from one to three weeks.
POODLE-DOG BUSH TREATMENT
The most important thing to do is to wash the site with warm soap and water as soon as possible to remove any plant oils. Sometimes the hairs from the plant can get injected into the skin. Some people recommend taking a piece of strong tape and pressing it to the skin than removing it to get rid of any extra plant hairs. Be very careful to not to touch the infected area and spread the oils to other parts of your body.
WIth poodle-dog bush anti-histamines like Pepcid or Benadryl don’t have an effect on burning or itching symptoms. This is because the allergy is not caused by a histamine response within the body. Localized symptoms are best treated with cold compresses using water, aluminum acetate, or calamine lotions. Lukewarm baths with baking soda or colloidal oatmeal can also bring relief (2).
When it comes to topical anesthetics, choose carefully. Products containing benzocaine can actually make the symptoms worse. Anesthetics containing lidocaine are more effective at numbing pain and burning on the rash. However, if you find that topical anesthetics make the symptoms worse, stop using the product (3).
Topical corticosteroids are recommended to decrease itching and redness in serious cases. Look for products containing triamcinolone 0.1% or clobetasol 0.05%. Oral steroids such as prednisone are also recommended if topical steroids are ineffective. While Benadryl may not help, it might make your nights more comfortable for the drowsiness sleep factor.