What To Do If A Cactus Pricks You

  • Use tweezers to remove any large spines or splinters from the wounded region.
  • To carefully bring imbedded spines and splinters to the surface so they can be removed with tweezers, use a sterile needle.
  • Work slowly to avoid tissue damage.
  • Before cleaning the area, apply some duct tape to remove any little spines.

What happens if a cactus pricks you?

Cactus spines are modified leaves that resemble needles. Cactus may lose less water in hot and arid environments because of its needle-like adaptability. Additionally, they give out some shade and are a fantastic deterrent to animals that might try to eat them.

Some cactus feature camouflage-producing spines, which further helps to defend them from predators who could try to consume them. Less light reaches the stem of the plant because the cactus spines reflect light (reducing water loss).

What types of cactus spines are there?

Various cactus plants may have one of a few different types of cactus spines. Some spine types could be more difficult to remove and hurt more when pricked. Types of cactus spines include:

  • tiny, hair-like spines (such as in genus of Cephalocereus)
  • Stiffened spines (such as in Mammillaria gracilis)
  • rounded spines (such as in Sclerocactus papyracanthus)
  • Glochids (such as in Opuntia rufida)
  • bent spines (most cacti)

One of the sorts of cactus spines that causes the most discomfort is the glochid. This is due to the glochids’ brittleness and easy skin-breaking. This makes removing them from the skin extremely difficult.

This also applies to cholla or barbed spines. They are extremely painful and easily penetrate skin and soft tissues. These cacti belong to the Opuntioideae subfamily, which also includes Chollas and Cylindropuntia.

Because they adhere to flesh, clothing, and fur with ease, cholla cacti are sometimes known as jumping chollas. They must be carefully removed from the skin since if done by hand, they would cling to the fingers.

Are the cactus pricks toxic?

The author disclaims all medical and veterinary licenses. The information provided is solely intended to share our experience and be entertaining. Always get advice from a doctor or veterinarian before making any decisions on your health or diet, as well as whenever you have any questions or concerns. By partaking in any activities or ideas from this website, the author and blog expressly disclaim all liability for any harm, accident, or injury that may result.

We find cactus plants to be very alluring because they require little upkeep and have stunning blossoms. Even though we adore using cacti as decorative accents, it’s crucial to understand whether or not the spines are lethal.

So, are the spines of cacti poisonous? Both humans and animals are not poisoned by cactus spines. A spine puncture, however, can penetrate the skin deeply and even reach the collagen and muscles. It’s also critical to remember that a spine may include bacteria and fungus that can infect your body.

It is crucial to think carefully about the plants we bring into our homes because some could be harmful to our health. Find out what to do if you get a spine injury by reading on.

What should you do if cactus needles accidentally pierce your skin?

Cactus spines can be easily removed with a pair of tweezers if you manage to get one or two stuck in the flesh. But what if you end up being one of the unfortunate people who gets stuck with a hand, foot, or butt full of needles? Elmer’s Glue works well for this, just spread a thin layer of it over the surface.

Once the glue has had time to dry completely, allow it to sit for a while before peeling it off. Your skin-piercing needles will rise to the surface and be pulled out by the glue. If you get a good foot- or handful, you might need to repeat a number more times.

Using duct tape is a different choice that I haven’t personally tested but that has received excellent recommendations (should you be out of glue.) However, since you’ll have to apply pressure in order to trap the needles, this seems uncomfortable.

In either case, when you remove the spines, make sure to thoroughly cleanse the area with antibacterial soap. You don’t want the injury to contract an infection.

If portion of the needle does not stick out above the skin, you can find it more challenging. You could want to leave it in your skin for a few days if it isn’t hurting you. The needles are pushed to the top by the body, which makes them simpler to catch.

Call an ambulance if you experience a serious fall and become coated in needles, but in reality, it would be best to stay clear of the cacti altogether.

Can you get sick from cactus spines?

Cactus spines can lead to issues such inflammation, infection, toxin-mediated reactions, allergic reactions, and granuloma development if they are not entirely removed. Soft tissue foreign body therapy requires a high index of suspicion because patients frequently deny having ever experienced a penetrating injury. Penetrating skin wounds should be examined for foreign bodies since failing to identify and remove splinters can injure patients and constitute malpractice.

The duration of cactus prick pain

Glochids that become embedded in the skin can cause dermatitis symptoms as well as a stinging, burning, and itching sensation. These may be extremely sensitive and painful welts, pustules, or blisters. If the glochids are not removed, the condition can linger for as long as nine months.

Since cactus glochids are so tiny, tweezers are not much use. However, tweezers work best when used in conjunction with a magnifying lens and a lot of patience. Duct tape that has been placed to the region and removed has some effectiveness as well.

You can also try applying Elmer’s glue or melted wax to the affected region. Peel off the wax or glue only after it has had time to dry. Up to 45% of the spines may be removed in this way.

The spines must be removed or the situation may worsen, necessitating the need for medical attention.

How should a cactus stung be handled?

You should have known better than to step outdoors barefoot, but you still did, and now you have cactus needles in your foot.

What ought you to do? Keep yourself sober and dispose of the needles before trying a shot of tequila. When you know you won’t need to travel to the doctor’s office, you can have the tequila then.

Cactus needle advice is widely available online, however most of it is pretty similar. No matter where you were pricked, the procedures are the same.

First use tweezers to get the biggest needles

Start by carefully removing any needles that aren’t totally buried using tweezers. In a single, straight motion, pull them out.

By pressing bubbles out of a screen protector, you might be able to entice buried needles to the surface by rubbing from the inner point of the needle toward the surface. If the needle was inserted directly into the skin and not along the skin, this is unlikely to work. A specialist could be required for that.

Next take care of the tiny needles

Look after the glochids. Even though they are tougher to notice, these tiny, hair-like needles are nevertheless detectable.

You don’t want the needles to get into your hand while wearing gloves.

Rub the skin with a pair of wadded-up nylon pantyhose. That ought to get rid of most of the glochids.

Try using glue

Spread adhesive where you believe there are still needles or glochids—some people advise rubber cement, others Elmer’s glue or something comparable. Allow the adhesive to cure before covering with gauze.

Pull the gauze and glue off with caution. With the glue, the needles and glochids ought to fall off. It is not advised to use adhesive tape.

After care

Once the needles have been removed, clean the area, apply an antibiotic cream, and cover the wound with a bandage that you should keep dry and clean.

Try taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen, two over-the-counter analgesics, if you’re in pain.

Are cactus needles skin-soluble?

Maybe you’re hiking through a small desert canyon twenty miles off the beaten path. Or perhaps you take a wrong turn through your aunt’s succulent garden after two martinis at her cocktail party. Cactus spines can hurt, whether you encounter them in the wild or in a botanical garden, and if you’re not careful, the tiny, hairy ones known as glochids may even endanger your health. The best course of action is to avoid getting into contact with cactus spines, but if that is not possible, here is how to fix the problem.

Cactus spines can be divided into two categories. The majority of cacti have the thick kind, which is easiest treated like a splinter, and the glochids mentioned before, which need to be extracted using a whole other technique.

First, let’s talk about the common spines. Unless you really wail on the plant, as I did here with my bare foot, most cacti’s spines won’t come away from the plant when you brush up against them. The best approach to treat a cactus spine puncture wound that then has the decency to remain attached to its parent plant is to treat it just like you would any other scratch or puncture wound, despite how terrible it is. Ensure the cleanliness of your new piercing. In the wilderness, this might call for moist towels and a product resembling hand sanitizer. If you’re close to a plumbing system, soap and water will do the trick. After that, simply monitor the wound as it recovers to prevent infection.

It’s considerably more likely for thin-spined cacti to break off and stab your skin. Most of the time, you ought to be able to remove these by treating them like a small splinter. If you don’t have tweezers, you should use the blade of a pocketknife to scrape the spines loose. It should go without saying that you should use extreme caution when doing this.

It will be much harder to remove the spines if none of them stick out above the skin. You might be able to locate the spine with a sterile needle if it is close to the surface of a rough patch of skin, on a heel, a kneecap, or another location comparable.

You may rationally opt to leave the spine in place to dissolve gradually over a few weeks if doing so would be too similar to surgery and it isn’t causing you too much discomfort. Many individuals who frequently come into contact with cacti do precisely that. However, putting any foreign body in your skin does dramatically raise your risk of contracting an infection. Additionally, you have no idea what type of terrible stuff may have covered the spine before it became your new home, from bird feces to a decaying carcass.

The best course of action for badly lodged spines that you can’t remove on your own is to have them removed for you by a doctor, skilled First Aid professional, or other knowledgeable individual. The advantage of this is that you can ask them to check the wound for infections and assist you in keeping it clean while you recover.

There can never be just one glochid wound. A glochid that penetrates your skin most likely brought several hundred of its companions with it. Glochids make their way into your flesh to the point where their hilt would be if they had hilts, and because their shafts are barbed, it is more difficult than it should be to remove them. Glochids detach with the slightest wind.

The good news is that only a small number of cacti, including cholla and prickly pears, have glochids. There are a lot of cholla and prickly pears out there, which is bad news. The bad news is that even the best methods for getting rid of glochids on your skin only work approximately 95% of the time, leaving 5% of them behind. And when you rub that patch of skin in the wrong manner, the stupid things hurt a lot more than their size would suggest, creating pains that range from bothersome to terrible.

If you get punctured by several glochids, there is one thing you must do immediately: keep the affected area of your body away from your mouth. Unbelievably often, when someone has a patch of glochids trapped in their hand, they go for their lips and almost instinctively try to suck the irritating spines out of their skin. The risk with this is that it occasionally succeeds in sucking the glochids out of your skin and into your mouth. There, they can become lodged in your tongue, gums, or even your windpipe, where the consequences can be lethal or extremely uncomfortable.

Similarly, you should never touch your face, especially the area around your eyes.

Tweezers are your first line of defense when dealing with glochids, just as you would be with their larger, less irritable relatives. When using tweezers carefully, in bright light, with patience, and good vision, you can remove somewhat more than half of the glochids that are typically transferred during accidents. The fact that the organisms frequently fall off the plant in groups is advantageous; you may be able to remove a few dozen glochids with a single tug.

Adhesives can also be used to mass remove glochids. I’ve successfully covered the troublesome region with duct tape, ripped it off, and used it again. This effectively destroys between a third and a half of the glochids, any local hair, and sporadically the top millimeter of skin.

The best way to remove glochids appears to be a two-step procedure. With tweezers, first get rid of as many as you can. After that, wrap the damaged region in gauze and thoroughly cover it with white glue. Peel off the gauze when the glue has had time to cure. You can remove all but 5% of the glochids using a combination of the two techniques.

Unfortunately, even the most successful removal techniques frequently leave the glochids’ barbed points buried in skin. This doesn’t bother many people or simply makes them slightly uncomfortable. However, these lingering barbules can lead to extremely bothersome dermatitis, which is best treated by scraping the sores open and removing the barbules using dissecting equipment and a microscope.

It goes without saying that admiring glochids from a distance is the best course of action.

The image up top suggests one more cactus spine removal scenario: frequently enough, an entire portion of cholla will lodge in your skin and refuse to come off. It’s best to avoid the urge to use your free hand to try to pull the part away because you’ll almost surely wind up impaling it. More essential, avoid vigorously shaking the limb the cholla stem is clinging to in an attempt to remove it. The cholla has been known to come off at a high rate of speed and strike more than one person in the face.

Instead, pry the part away from you using a foreign item. A huge comb is a common item carried by desert rats who are used to live in cholla country since it is an effective tool for removing the stems of chollas by hand. If you don’t have a comb, get a clean stick—not a cactus skeleton, since those frequently still have spines attached—and use it to carefully peel the stem off by yourself with the least amount of throwing. Then look for glochid areas on your skin and prepare the tweezers and white glue.