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October 27, 1945


JAMA. 1945;129(9):647. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860430063021

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To the Editor:—  I wish to substantiate the statement of Francis E. Park (The Journal, August 18, p. 1186) that steaming hot water is an effective treatment for rhus dermatitis.Thirty years ago while on a horseback trip through the Feather River Canyon I became disabled with poison oak. At an Indian camp the Indians treated me with steaming hot water from a mineral spring. I enthusiastically carried a bottle of the water away with me but later found steaming tap water to be equally effective. Some of my friends have substituted live coals held close or infra-red from bathroom heaters or cigarets.The rationale of the treatment may possibly be explained by a detoxification or oxidation of the phenols or catechols in the oils or oleoresins embedded in the skin.The water should be about 130 F. or slightly over and the application should produce a mild first degree

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