Infection from rose thorn

Sporotrichosis

Symptoms

The symptoms of sporotrichosis depend on where the fungus is growing in the body. Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms that you think are related to sporotrichosis.

Sporotrichosis usually affects the skin or tissues underneath the skin. The first symptom of cutaneous (skin) sporotrichosis is usually a small, painless bump that can develop any time from 1 to 12 weeks after exposure to the fungus. The bump can be red, pink, or purple, and usually appears on the finger, hand, or arm where the fungus has entered through a break in the skin. The bump will eventually grow larger and may look like an open sore or ulcer that is very slow to heal. Additional bumps or sores may appear later near the original one.

Pulmonary (lung) sporotrichosis is rare. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fever.

Symptoms of disseminated sporotrichosis depend on the body part affected. For example, infection of the joints can cause joint pain that may be confused with rheumatoid arthritis. Infections of the central nervous system can involve difficulty thinking, headache, and seizures.

Risk & Prevention

Who gets sporotrichosis?

People who touch plant matter such as sphagnum moss, rose bushes, or hay are more likely to become infected. For example, sporotrichosis outbreaks have occurred among forestry workers, people who work in tree nurseries and garden centers, and people who handle hay bales.

The severe forms of sporotrichosis (those that affect the lungs, bones or joints, or central nervous system) usually affect people with weakened immune systems or other diseases including diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), alcoholism, or HIV.1,3,4

How can I lower the chance of developing sporotrichosis?

You can lower the chance of getting sporotrichosis by wearing protective clothing such as gloves and long sleeves when touching plant matter that can cause minor cuts or scrapes.

In Brazil, people have gotten sporotrichosis from contact with cats. This form of sporotrichosis (Sporothrix brasiliensis) has not been found in the United States. Be careful with unfamiliar animals, particularly cats. Cat bites and scratches can spread the fungus that causes sporotrichosis, and other diseases. This fungus is most often spread by stray cats and pet cats that are allowed outdoors. Learn more about sporotrichosis from cats.

Sources

Sporotrichosis is often linked to sphagnum moss, rose bushes, hay, or animal scratches or bites.

The fungus that causes sporotrichosis lives in the environment.

Sporothrix, the fungus that causes sporotrichosis, lives in the environment in soil and on plant matter such as sphagnum moss, rose bushes, hay, or wood. The microscopic fungus can enter the skin through small cuts or scrapes. In rare cases, breathing in the fungus can cause a pulmonary (lung) infection. The type of sporotrichosis found in North America is not contagious and can’t spread from person to person. However, in South America, a type of sporotrichosis caused by Sporothrix brasiliensis spreads through scratches or bites from animals, particularly cats. (This fungal illness is not cat-scratch disease, a bacterial illness spread by cats – which occurs worldwide, wherever cats live.)

Diagnosis & Testing

Your healthcare provider will take a small tissue sample (biopsy) of the infected area of the body for laboratory tests. The laboratory will usually perform a fungal culture to find out what is causing the infection. Blood tests can help diagnose severe sporotrichosis, but usually can’t diagnose skin infections.

Treatment

How is sporotrichosis treated?

Most cases of sporotrichosis only involve the skin or the tissues underneath the skin. These infections are not life-threatening, but must be treated with prescription antifungal medicine for several months. The most common treatment for this type of sporotrichosis is itraconazole, taken by mouth for 3 to 6 months. Supersaturated potassium iodide (SSKI) is another treatment option for skin sporotrichosis. SSKI and azole drugs like itraconazole should not be used if you are pregnant.

If you have severe sporotrichosis that affects your lungs, bones, joints, or central nervous system, you’ll probably receive intravenous amphotericin B medicine, which is given through a vein. After the first treatment with amphotericin B, you may receive itraconazole by mouth, for a total of at least 1 year of antifungal treatment. People with sporotrichosis in the lungs may also need surgery to cut away the infected tissue.

Healthcare providers: For detailed treatment guidelines, please refer to the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Sporotrichosis pdf iconexternal icon.

Statistics

How common is sporotrichosis?

Diagnosed sporotrichosis is rare, but the number of cases is difficult to determine because there is no national surveillance for it in the United States. Population-based incidence estimates for sporotrichosis were obtained from laboratory surveillance in the San Francisco Bay Area during 1992–1993 and suggested a yearly rate of less than one case per 1 million population.5 However, more mild infections may not be diagnosed. Sporotrichosis may be more common in other parts of the world, such as Latin America.2 For example, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, more than 2,200 cases were reported during 1998–2009.6 Another study suggested a rate of 48 to 60 sporotrichosis cases per 100,000 population in the south central highlands of Peru.7

Sporotrichosis outbreaks

In the United States, sporotrichosis outbreaks have occurred among people who touched sphagnum moss or hay, such as forestry workers,8,9 tree nursery and garden center workers,10-12 and people who worked with or played on hay bales.13-16 Sporotrichosis outbreaks also have been reported in several other countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, Guatemala, and South Africa.2 Healthcare providers who are concerned about an unusual number of new cases should contact their state or local public health agency.

An ongoing outbreak of sporotrichosis is occurring in some cities in Brazil, where the infection has become common in outdoor cats and can spread to humans through bites or scratches. Learn more about this problem.

More Resources

MMWR Articles:
  • Multistate Outbreak of Sporotrichosis in Seedling Handlers, 1988. MMWR 1988; 37:652-3.
  • Sporotrichosis Among Hay-Mulching Workers – Oklahoma, New Mexico. MMWR 1984; 33:682-3.
  • Sporotrichosis Associated with Wisconsin Sphagnum Moss. MMWR 1982; 31:542-4.
Related Links
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Sporotrichosisexternal icon

What is sporotrichosis?

Sporotrichosis is a fungal infection of the skin caused by the fungus Sporothrix schenckii, which is found on decaying vegetation, rosebushes, twigs, hay, sphagnum moss and mulch-rich soil. Because of its tendency to present after a thorn injury, it is also called rose gardener disease.

How does sporotrichosis arise?

The most common route of infection with S schenckii is via the skin through small cuts, scratches or punctures from thorns, barbs, pine needles or wires. Sporotrichosis does not appear to be transmitted from person to person but there are reported cases of transmission from infected cats to humans. In very rare cases, spore-laden dust can be inhaled or ingested and in people with a weakened immune system cause disseminated (widespread) sporotrichosis.

People at risk of contracting sporotrichosis include farmers, nursery workers, landscapers and gardeners. Adult males are, by their occupation, most exposed to the risk of infection.

What are the clinical features of sporotrichosis?

Depending on the severity of infection and the overall well-being of the individual, sporotrichosis can present in several ways. Skin disease is the most common.

Presentation Features
Skin disease
  • Patients are typically well without fever
  • Lesion develops at the site of a scratch
  • Nodules appear under the skin along the lymphatic channels
Lung disease
  • Patients usually have severe underlying chronic lung disease and present with pneumonia
  • They may or may not have skin lesions
Bones and joint disease
  • Patients typically present with a subacute or chronic inflammatory arthritis involving one or more joints
  • They may or may not have skin lesions
Disseminated disease
  • Patients present with skin lesions but may have other organ involvement including the eye, prostate, oral mucosa, larynx and brain
  • Spreading usually occurs only in people with a weakened immune system, e.g. HIV or AIDS patient

Cutaneous and lymphocutaneous sporotrichosis

The lymphocutaneous route is the most common presentation of sporotrichosis and is sometimes described as sporotrichoid spread. It occurs following the implantation of spores in a wound. Lesions usually appear on exposed skin and often the hand or forearm is affected, as these areas are a common site of injury. Features of cutaneous sporotrichosis include:

  • The first lesion can take up to 20-90 days to appear after initial cutaneous inoculation. Usually the first visible nodule occurs within 20 days.
  • The first sign is a firm bump (nodule) on the skin that can range in colour from pink to nearly purple. It is usually painless or only mildly tender.
  • The nodule gradually grows bigger, reddens, becomes pustular, and ulcerates. The open sore (ulcer) may drain clear fluid.
  • If left untreated, the nodule and the ulcer become chronic and remain unchanged for years.
  • In about 60% of cases, the infection spreads along the lymph nodes and a chain of lymphatic nodules develop in a line up the infected arm (or leg) leading away from the initial ulcer. These also develop into ulcers and can last for years if left untreated.

How is sporotrichosis diagnosed?

Other lymphocutaneous infections can mimic the lesions of sporotrichosis so it is important to perform tests to confirm diagnosis. Microscopy and culture of infected tissue is performed to identify the presence of Sporothrix schencki.

Skin biopsy can be helpful. Histopathology reveals a granulomatous infection with abscess formation. The organisms may be identified using special stains.

What is the treatment of sporotrichosis?

Treatment of sporotrichosis depends on the site infected.

Treatment of sporotrichosis

Site of infection Treatment
Skin
  • Traditionally treated with saturated potassium iodide solution given orally 3 times per day for 3-6 months until all lesions have gone.
  • Itraconazole orally for up to 6 months.
  • Oral terbinafine
Bones and joints
  • Difficult to treat and rarely respond to potassium iodide.
  • Itraconazole orally for months or even up to a year.
  • Amphotericin IV if oral therapy ineffective.
  • Surgery to remove infected bone.
Lungs
  • Potassium iodide, itraconazole and amphotericin used with varying degrees of success.
  • Infected areas of lung may need to be surgically removed.
Disseminated (e.g. brain infection)
  • Itraconazole may be tried
  • Amphotericin plus 5-fluorocytosine is generally recommended.

Treatment of sporotrichosis can be prolonged but should continue until all lesions have resolved. This may take months or years, and scars may remain at the original site of infection. However, most people can expect a full recovery. Systemic or disseminated sporotrichosis is usually more difficult to treat and in some cases life-threatening for people with weakened immune systems.

Patients should be advised of measures to take to prevent sporotrichosis. These include wearing gloves, boots and clothing that covers the arms and legs when handling rose bushes, hay bales, pine seedlings or other materials that may scratch or break the skin surface. It is also advisable to avoid skin contact with sphagnum moss.

What Is Rose Picker’s Disease: Tips On Preventing A Rose Thorn Infection

Preventing a Rose Thorn Infection

Sporotrichosis is a chronic infection characterized by nodular lesions of the subcutaneous tissue and the adjacent lymphatics that make pus, digest the tissue and then drain. Some of the diseases that may be caused by Sporothrix are:

  • Lymphocutaneous infection – localized lymphocutaneou sporotrichosis
  • Osteoarticular sporotrichosis – the bones and joints may become infected
  • Keratitis – the eye(s) and adjacent areas may become infected
  • Systemic infection – sometimes the central nervous system is invaded as well
  • Pulmanary sporotrichoisis – caused by the inhalation of the conidia (fungal spores). Seen in about 25% of the cases.

Sporothrix typically lives as an organism that obtains nutrients from dead organic matter such as wood, decaying vegetation (such as rose thorns), sphagnum moss, and animal feces in the soil. Sporothrix is especially abundant in areas where sphagnum moss is abundant, such as in central Wisconsin.

So is rose thorn disease contagious? It is only rarely transmitted to humans; however, when the sphagnum moss is collected and used for floral arrangements and such where it is handled a lot, the right conditions are provided for the transmission to some degree.

Wearing those heavy, hot gloves while handling or pruning roses may feel like a huge inconvenience, but they do provide great protection. There are rose pruning gloves on the market these days that are not as heavy really with protective sleeves that extend up the arm for additional protection.

Should you be poked, scratched or pricked by rose thorns, and you will be if you grow roses for any length of time, take care of the wound properly and right away. If the wound draws blood, it is definitely deep enough to cause problems. But even if it doesn’t, you could still be at risk. Do not make the mistake of thinking that treatment of the wound can wait while you finish your pruning or other garden chores. I understand that it is an inconvenience to drop everything, go treat a “boo-boo,” and then go back to work. However, it truly is very important – If nothing else, do it for this old rose man.

Perhaps, it would be worth your while to create a little medical station of your own for the garden. Take a small plastic paint bucket and add some hydrogen peroxide, individually wrapped gauze pads, wound cleaning wipes, tweezers, Bactine, Band-Aids, eye-wash drops and whatever else you think appropriate in the bucket. Take your own little garden medical station with you each time you go out to work in the garden. That way treating a wound does not require travel to the house to take care of it. Keep an eye on the wound, even if you think you took care of things properly at the time. If it becomes reddish, swollen or more painful get yourself in to see your doctor immediately!

Enjoy gardening in a safe and thoughtful manner, after all our garden friends need our shadow there!

‘Hi Dr. Kris,
Last month while I was doing some casual weeding in the garden, I got pricked by a rose thorn that turned into a nasty infection after a few days and I ended up on antibiotics and had a precautionary tetanus shot as advised by the doc. I didn’t realise that the common rosebush could be poisonous! Are all thorny plants dangerous? Are there any other common plants that I should be wary of when in the garden, or is this just a tropical climate thing? I love gardening but I don’t want to get any more nasty infections.
Thanks in advance for your advice? ’Alex.’

Spikes, thorns and pricks all hurt so to that extent I would say that all thorny plants are in fact dangerous. Some people have even been known to plant out their boundaries with an abundance of spiny plants, like some sort of natural barbed wire to deter thieves, and after reading on you’ll see why.

An encounter with a rose thorn can result in anything from a minor annoyance to a serious illness, even death! Your experience reinforces the importance of wearing appropriate clothing whilst gardening. When dealing with spiky plants such as roses, bougainvillea, cactus gloves and a long shirt are a must. In saying that, I too have fallen victim to a nasty rose thorn wound to the thumb when pulling weeds from around the base of a rose bush, because weeds are much easier to pull without gloves on, and we all know that we should wear them but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we do.

Rose thorn wounds are definitely not an innocuous scratch and should be treated seriously, despite what others would have you think. Rose thorns have caused plenty of cases of tetanus, blood poisoning and other types of infections that can lead to death. Sadly, cases where a rose thorn has caused death is more common than you would care to imagine. There are many varieties of bacteria and fungus that will live on rose thorns, and then when you get spiked you are basically injecting it deep under the skin. Deep puncture wounds will also be devoid of oxygen allowing the pathogens to thrive. Wounds are usually on the extremities such as the hands and feet giving the infection a better chance to become established. Some types of infection are so prevalent that the rose bush even has its own disease named after it!

Rose thorn disease otherwise known as Rose Sporotrichosis is caused by the infection of the fungus Sporothrix, which is found naturally on rose bushes, hay, sphagnum moss and in the soil, The disease has many complications which can lead to chronic illness and death. It can cause infection, redness, swelling and open ulcers at the puncture site. The fungus can spread to the lymphatic system and move on to the joints and bones, where it ends up attacking the central nervous system and lungs when the thorn or thorns are deeply embedded. In veterinary medicine it is most commonly seen in cats and horses.

In terms of other spiky thorny plants I would simply suggest to just beware of all pricks!

Bougainvillea and Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) are other common garden plant whose spines and thorns can make you sick, mostly due to the method of delivery of the bacteria or fungus, through injection deep under the skin.

Aside from the pricks, all plants with milky sap have to be treated with care and caution. Some examples that are very common in the home garden are frangipani, euphorbia and oleander. Frangipani is related to the oleander and both possess a poisonous, milky sap, which is similar to that of euphorbia. When trimming all of these plants be very careful not to let any of the sap come into contact with your eyes or skin. Many people do not know that the milky sap that comes out of frangipani is toxic to humans and animals. If you propagate from cutting then you should always wear protective eyewear and make sure children or pets are not within the vicinity. Frangipani sap can cause temporary blindness, and is also likely to cause skin irritation, burning, itching, rashes and allergy. It is not always easy to know which plants have toxic sap and which don’t. Personally, I would avoid any plant saps on my skin, eyes or mouth.

Soil in fact could be the biggest danger in your garden. A few years ago I had a tiny scratch turn septic within a matter of hours whilst digging a hole here in Bali. One stinking hot afternoon, whilst digging out a raphis palm to transfer to a new location I grazed my hand on a small rock and the fresh wound came into contact with the wet soil. Within hours the cut had turned septic. Seriously this was a tiny scratch on my index finger to begin with, but later that night I awoke to find that my finger had become painfully swollen so much that I could no longer bend it, and the swelling extended into most of my hand which had puffed up like a small balloon.

The ‘tiny cut’ had seemed to have grown into a mini volcano now oozing puss out of the crater rim. It had progressed from a scratch to septic in a matter of hours. Despite the fact that it was 1am I went to the nearest medical centre because this was obviously serious. I was put on some powerful antibiotics immediately and the infection started to improve by the next day, but in those early moments when I awoke and before I got to the hospital I was in serious fear of losing my finger, I was just lucky that I had it seen to immediately.

The moral of the story – Always wear gloves in the garden, especially when handling soil, or dealing with toxic plants. If pruning overhead wear protective eye wear. Never use your gloves to wipe your eyes. It is helpful if you can identify toxic plants or plants that are likely to cause allergic reactions growing in the garden, so that you can provide a safer environment for all of those who come to visit. Do some further research on your own garden, because plants with toxic properties are many more than I can reasonably cover here.
Dr. Kris
Garden Doctor
Contact: [email protected]
Copyright © 2015 Dr. Kris
You can read all past articles of Garden Doctor at www.BaliAdvertiser.biz

Question

Whilst gardening yesterday, I was pricked by a rose thorn. Later on, I noticed a tiny black dot where I was pricked.

Overnight it has become very sore and tender, as if it were a bad bruise. I can no longer see the black dot.

I have sterilised it with cream and hot water. Should I leave it alone to work its own way out?

I am not sure when I had my last tetanus immunisation as my old GP has the details.

Should I be worried?

Answer

The presence of the black dot suggests a small splinter. At this stage it is wisest to leave it to work out on its own.

It is likely to be sore at first but if this becomes worse and is accompanied by redness and swelling, infection should be considered and advice sought from your doctor.

With the fine weather and the garden coming back to life, it is a good time to think about tetanus protection. A tetanus booster is recommended every ten years.

It is likely that you would have had one during your teens. If you have not had a booster since then, it would be wise to have one now in any case, particularly as you are a gardener.

Your GP records are the most easily accessible place where your immunisation details are stored. Many GPs have computer records that are retained after patients leave.

A telephone call to your previous GP might answer your question about previous tetanus immunisations.

Yours sincerely

The NetDoctor Medical Team

Last updated 19.03.2014

Garden offers cures to what rose garden might occasion

Fiann Ó Nualláin on how to lessen the intensity of Rose gardener’s disease from injuries while pruning

What put this article on my radar to write about, was that in recent weeks I had a letter from a reader of this column concerning a persistent wound from a pruning injury — and I met a person on a foraging expedition who had contracted a bronchial complication from a plume of wild mushroom spores. And as this is both the main foraging season, and the choice time for planting barefoot roses and pruning some established ones — I thought it pertinent.

Okay, we gardeners know that every rose has its thorns but beyond a bloody thumb or pricked finger we should be alert to other potential injuries. In particular Rose gardener’s disease aka Sporotrichosis — which is occasioned by a scrape or deeper wound infected with the dimorphic fungus Sporothrix schenckii.

Cat scratches can carry it too.

In fact, those fungal spores are not exclusive to roses and cats. They are found in hay, sphagnum moss, pine needles and wood chippings — all regular ingredients to many gardeners potting mix and all in play in this season of lifting, transplanting and refreshing of containers and hanging baskets. Sporothrix is particularly found on rose thorns which cause the wound to be infected at the same time as the prick occurs.

What happens next is as much to do with your personal immune response and any underlying condition (diabetes etc) but for most people, the disease manifests as a simple wound complication and does not progress beyond the skin — taking the wound longer to heal and some extra irritation to develop. But for some, it can becomes a more complex local lympho-cutaneous infection that develops a week or more (up to 12 days) after inoculation/thorn prick — at the wound site.

In the case of that happening, papules or nodules (pimple to boil sized) will form and may ulcerate — this is the cutaneous part — but later more nodules may arise developing and following along the proximal lymphatic route from the injury point, this is the lympho part and your system is compromised.

Complications such as Disseminated sporotrichosis can occur — this is where the infection spreads to joints and bones or into the central nervous system and the brain. So you get the seriousness of wearing gardening gloves and taking care.

If that’s not scary enough — I should note that Sporothrix schenckii may be inhaled as with any spore amongst your garden plants and soil — if so a pulmonary infection can occur. Don’t panic — this is a very rare occurrence. But you can do things to lessen the intensity of any occasion of it.

So

if you are concerned after a thorn scratch or splinter from the mulch then

clean the wound site with a strong antiseptic and take some supplements/foods to boost the immune system (more on that anon). That should stop it in its tracks.

If infection develops later on and becomes ulcerated boils or progresses to lymphatic stage then prescription antifungal medication will be required — often for several months. Medical advances in treating this and other infections in recent years, mean more gardeners are saved each year. Now don’t abandon the roses or fear the garden — I am gardening all my life and only stepped on a rake once — so lightening will not always strike.

The great thing about being a gardener is that the garden offers cures to what the garden might occasion. So

Echinacea tea or Echinacea cordial will support your immune system and elderberry jam or cordial will also help you better fight any infection. If you find yourself with the full-on beginnings of Rose-gardeners disease then you will require a lymphatic herb to clear and de-inflame the lymph nodes.

Red clover flower and cleaver stems are excellent as lymphatic tonics — I advise you blend with strawberries for a lymphatic tonic smoothie. The tea of each can be less effective as heat can damage some of the phytochemicals we need for lymphatic purposes. You can make both up as a tincture — which can be added to morning orange juice and also topically applied to infection nodes.

So here are some recipes from my old book, The Holistic Gardener: First aid from the garden (Mercier Press). Fingers crossed you will never need it — fingers safely inside gardening gloves and the likelihood is greatly reduced.

Echinacea tea or Echinacea cordial will support your immune system and elderberry jam or cordial will also help you better fight any infection. If you find yourself with the full-on beginnings of Rose-gardeners disease then you will require a doctor.

Rose gardeners’ draughts:

Echinacea raises white blood cell count and so increases immunity, all other ingredients are antiviral/antibacterial and/or immune-enhancing.

Quick route immunity booster:

Make a really strong pot of Echinacea tea, leave 4-5 bags in for 30mins minimum but stir in while hot, 4 heap tsps of honey, juice of one lemon. Allow to cool, decant to a tall glass and add a fizzy Vitamin C capsule to have a refreshing and immunity revitalizing cordial beverage — alternately have as iced tea — take daily for one month.

Slower root ‘infection busting’ cordial concentrate:

Ingredients

  • 4 cups strong chamomile tea — several teabags and let sit for ½ hour.
  • ½ cup grated ginger root
  • 1/3 cup diced and dried Echinacea root
  • 1/3 cup of elderberries or 1 cup of blackberries
  • ½ cup honey
  • Juice of 1 Lemon, plus its grated zest
  • Juice of one orange, plus its grated zest
  • 1 fizzy zinc vitamin capsule.

Method

Mash the roots up in a mortar and pestle and add to a saucepan with berries and 3 cups chamomile tea, slowly bring to a boil.

Add juices and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, add extra tea if needed to keep good coverage.

Allow to rest for 20 minutes. Add honey and fizzy zinc capsule.

Bring to a boil again; keep stirring and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce.

You may strain syrup or blend all before straining to yield thicker more potent syrup/concentrate.

Will keep refrigerated for 5 days.

Use as a cordial concentrate — add to chilled water (sparkling or non-sparkling) for a daily boost.

Jab from rose can lead to severe infection / Wear gloves, take other precautions

Q: Why are rose thorn punctures so problematic? I was stabbed in the thumb by two thorns and couldn’t make the wounds bleed. It is now more than two months later, and while I can hold a pencil again and actually work (I’m an artist) the joint is still swollen and there is still some pain in the knuckle area.

I had two courses of antibiotics and a tetanus shot. The doctor’s research showed the problem could be a fungal or bacterial infection. As long as I can work again I’m no longer seeking a cure. I think the infection, whatever it is, will continue working its way out of my body over time.

I am, though, very curious about this. I’d like to know what happened and what’s inside my thumb. I’m now so terrified of my roses I’m considering giving them away.

A: Don’t. A remarkably similar episode and its resolution are discussed in the following article by Vincent Lazaneo, Urban Horticulture Adviser to the University of California Cooperative Extension, titled “An Alarming Example of Why You Should Wear Protective Gloves”:

“Master Gardener Rob Hansen encountered an unexpected difficulty after pruning a rosebush without wearing gloves. That evening, he noticed a cramp in his index finger and the next day, it was a bit puffy. When the swelling spread into the palm of his hand, Hansen went to the doctor and within a few hours was undergoing surgery.

“The finger and the tissues surrounding the tendons up his arm had become infected. During the operation, the doctor had to cut from the tip of his index finger to the middle forearm. Antibiotics were administered to fight the infection and two additional operations were performed during the following week.

“Hansen was concerned that he might lose his hand, but the infection was brought under control and he was able to return home while continuing to take oral antibiotics. Weeks of physical therapy were then required to regain most of the hand’s function.”

An infection such as this is not common, but it is not unique, either. Doctors at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla (San Diego County) have treated six patients for this condition in the past five years.

The microorganism responsible for the infection, atypical Mycobacterium Type IV, is present in some compost materials. (A possible source of Hansen’s infection was compost that contained wet poultry material, which he had applied some weeks earlier under the rosebush.) This particular microorganism can enter through any break in the skin. People whose hands are frequently scratched, punctured or abraded are particularly vulnerable to this type of infection.

According to Hansen’s physician, successful treatment requires early diagnosis and meticulous management of the infection. Surgery is usually performed to clean the wound and restore normal blood flow in affected tissues. Then long-term rehabilitation with multiple antibiotics follows.

Wear gloves to protect your hands when performing landscape services. Clean wounds immediately with soapy water and peroxide. If a cut penetrates deep into the skin (down to a tendon or into a joint), see a doctor.

Seek medical help if you observe inflammation or swelling in a hand, or if pain sustains in a joint at rest. Although atypical mycobacterial infections are not common, they can severely affect you if the condition is not properly treated by a physician.”

So there you have it.

Don’t give those roses away. Instead, consider the following.

— Hie thee to the garden center and get a pair of gloves designed for working with thorns (the gauntlet type, which also protect the forearm, are particularly good).

— If you use it at all (and Dr. Hort does not recommend that you do) only apply wet manure (poultry or otherwise) at the very beginning of the winter dormant season, after you have pruned your roses.

— Hire someone else to do the dirty work. Above all, be extra careful when exposing yourself to sharp, pointy objects. Remember what happened to Sleeping Beauty? Dr. Hort has it on good authority that there aren’t that many princes about these days to save your bacon should you prick yourself.

Rose thorn prick led woman to emergency room visit

Gennifer Lendahl-Gonzales was pulling a few weeds beneath the roses in her front yard in advance of a visit from her parents on a Friday evening in February, when a her hand grazed a rose bush and a thorn jabbed the top of her left hand near the knuckle.

“I did not even think twice about it,” the 45-year-old Antelope resident said. She’d been stuck by rose thorns many times in the nine years she tended the five bushes along the front of her house. She went on about her day, but late in the night, after she went to sleep, her hand began to ache, troubling her dreams.

“I thought maybe I laid on it wrong, or it was positioned funny,” she said. In the morning, her hand was swollen and throbbing with pain. She thought it might have been a spider bite, and she posted a picture on social media.

A veterinarian friend messaged her to tell her it wasn’t a spider bite, but she still did not make the connection to the tiny spot on her knuckle left by the thorn. The pain was so severe, it felt like a bone had broken, which didn’t reconcile with such a minor injury.

“The pain felt like a sledge hammer – like nothing I ever felt,” she said. Finally she went to a local hospital for emergency care, where doctors diagnosed a common case of cellulitis and prescribed two antibiotics. But when the pain and swelling hadn’t gone down in four days, she went back again – several times. But the pain and swelling continued.

Finally, an MRI revealed the extent of the infection, and doctors operated to remove the bacteria. Doctors took a sample of the bacteria and sent it for analysis to develop an effective antibiotic. In the meantime, they kept her in the hospital in case she developed sepsis. When the results came back, doctors installed a “pick line” – a tube leading from a port in her right arm to just above her heart.

In all, Lendahl-Gonzales spent five days in the hospital and was out of work for five weeks, quickly exhausting her allotted vacation and sick time.

Infections from rose thorns scratches are not widespread, but do occur from time to time. Various bacteria and fungal infections are associated with roses, and the thorns are good for injecting them into the hands of gardeners – which is why it’s a really good idea to wear gloves.

The reason Lendahl-Gonzales’s infection became so difficult to treat was the location of the injury. Although it seemed insignificant, the sharp tip of the thorn injected bacteria straight into her knuckle bone. Her doctor said hers was a “one in a million case.” Ordinarily, an infection like hers should have been treatable by the course of antibiotics she was initially prescribed.

However, infections like these can be more dangerous to those with conditions that compromise the body’s ability to stave off infection. A British man suffering from diabetes lost a leg below the knee in 2012 due to a severe infection after he stepped on a rose thorn, according to a BBC news story.

Dr. Dean Blumberg, a pediatric infectious disease expert at the U.C. Davis Medical Center, said it is more common for rose gardeners to be infected with a fungal infection called sporotrichosis. But any kind of cut or scratch can allow entry of various bacteria, such as staph or Staphylococcus, which lives on our skin.

With deep inoculation, as in the case of the thorn that penetrated Lendahl-Gonzales’s knuckle, the bacteria can be pushed in and become sealed off, so it can’t easily be flushed away by washing.

The main thing is to take infections seriously and seek medical care, Blumberg said. If people aren’t sure, and want to save themselves a trip to the emergency department or urgent care clinic, they should at least call or email their primary care doctors for advice on whether they need to come in.

Even if it’s a case of overreaction to a minor injury, “They can learn from that too. It’s better to err on the side of seeking early medical attention,” Blumberg said.

Lendahl-Gonzales said her doctors told her it was lucky she caught the infection early.

In an interview at her Antelope home this week, Lendahl-Gonzales took a light-hearted tone, joking about the terrifying ordeal – which, she admitted, left her fearful of small injuries.

Her husband took the rose bushes out, replacing them with hibiscus and other flowering shrubs. She’s wary of paper cuts and handling sharp objects.

Eventually, her fears will subside, but she isn’t planning on replacing the rose bushes any time soon, and she intends to wear protective gloves while gardening in the future.

She frowned at her scarred and still-swollen hand.

“I’ll never make it as a hand model – those dreams are now over,” she joked.

Copyright 2017 KXTV

Getting a splinter may not be the most painful injury, but it is still an injury all the same. At best, splinters can be a minor annoyance in your day. At their worst, splinters can get infected and turn into a much bigger problem. If you’re not careful, getting a splinter removed can be a painful process, but leaving it in may be worse. Consider some of the following ways to quickly and painlessly remove a splinter.

Related: 4 Signs You Have a Sprain

How to Remove a Splinter

Splinters can be irritating and painful, especially for children. The best way to deal with a splinter and get back to your day is to take care of it immediately. First, you should clean the area gently with water. Then, pat the area dry with a clean towel. Fortunately, most splinters can be removed at home, without the help of a physician. However, some splinters may need medical attention, depending on:

  • Where the splinter is located on your body
  • How big the splinter is
  • How deep the splinter is

If you can see the tip of the splinter, you should be able to remove it gently with sanitized tweezers after cleaning the wound. If you cannot see the tip of the splinter, a needle may be used to puncture the skin where the splinter is closest to the surface. After freeing a section of the splinter, you can then remove it with tweezers. Don’t forget to clean the area again after removing the splinter!

The tweezer method is one of the most common ways of removing a splinter, but it isn’t always an option. Sometimes tweezers may not be available, or the tweezers that you have may not be able to grab the end of the splinter effectively. However, there’s no need for you to worry. Below, find five creative, easy ways to remove that pesky splinter.

1. Tape is Quick and Easy

One of the easiest ways you can remove a splinter is with tape. You can use either scotch tape or duct tape for this method. Cover the tip of the splinter with a piece of tape and gently remove the tape in the direction opposite of the way that the splinter entered your skin. The tape should stick to the end of the splinter and pull it free as you peel the tape away. This method may not work as effectively if the splinter is deep or large.

2. Baking Soda Pulls up Splinters

Make a paste using one tablespoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of water. Cover the skin around the splinter with the paste. Then, put a bandage over the area and leave it alone for at least 24 hours. The baking soda solution should work to pull the splinter up to the surface, making it easier to pull out with tweezers easily and painlessly.

Related: 10 Things Every First Aid Kit Should Have

3. Glue Peels Off

Did you know that you can use simple Elmer’s glue (or your favorite brand) to pull out a splinter? Simply cover the area of skin around the splinter with glue and let it dry around the splinter. If you attempt to pull the glue away from your skin before it has dried completely, this trick will not work. Once the glue is dry, peel it off. As long as the splinter is not too deep, it should come out quickly when you peel away the glue. This method is best used if the splinter is small and near the surface.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide Pops Splinters Out

If you have some hydrogen peroxide around, pour some over the area of the splinter. As the peroxide bubbles, it will move the splinter toward the surface. In just a few minutes, the peroxide can pop the splinter completely out of the skin, without any pain. This can be used for large splinters but may be less effective if the splinter is too deep. Don’t have any hydrogen peroxide laying around? White vinegar can also be used to achieve the same effect.

5. Find the solution in your garden

If you’re having trouble bringing the splinter to the surface, the answer may be found in your garden—or the produce section of the grocery store! Some people swear by the ability of onions and potatoes to draw out a splinter so that you can remove it with tweezers. Cut a small slice of one of these foods and use a bandage, cloth, or even a clean sock to secure it to your skin. Leave on for a few hours—or overnight, if possible. Once the splinter has risen to the surface, you should be able to pull it out with tweezers painlessly.

Take care to prevent splinters

Sometimes you can’t avoid getting a splinter, but taking extra precautions may help save you from getting injured unnecessarily. For instance, wearing shoes while outside can protect your feet from splinters, as well as broken glass, rocks, and other potentially painful debris. Additionally, you should always wear protective gloves when gardening or working with wood.

Related: The Ins and Outs of Stitches: 5 Things You Should Know

Should you go to urgent care for your splinter?

While it’s true that most splinters can be safely removed at home, you shouldn’t be afraid to seek medical attention for your splinter. You may need to see a physician to remove your splinter if the splinter is especially large, deep, or located in or close to your eye.

Additionally, any splinter wounds that show signs of infection—including redness, swelling, increasing pain, or warmth near the site of the splinter—should be treated by a medical professional. Depending on the circumstances, your doctor may recommend a tetanus booster if your last booster shot was over five years ago.

If you have tried these tips to remove your splinter and are still having trouble, it may be time to head to a clinic. Urgent care centers are a great option for getting deep or large splinters out. They will be able to get the splinter out completely and ensure that you are not in pain. The physicians at a clinic will also be able to examine the wound for infection and administer treatment as needed

Getting a splinter out can be a painful process, but it doesn’t have to be. Depending on where the splinter is, and how deep it goes, you may be able to get it out of your skin by yourself. However, if you are unsure whether you can safely remove the splinter, or you suspect that the wound may be infected, don’t hesitate to book an appointment at your local urgent care clinic today.

Since we’ve tried ourselves in 3D design we started to look at the world differently. Now when we see an interesting item we are thinking: “Hmm… can we design or scan it and print it out?” I was once buying flowers for my wife and noticed that the florist was using a special tool to clean the stems. At that time the idea to create a rose thorn remover was born.

It is a very handy item for those who have their own garden or buy flowers regularly. It speeds up removing the excessive leaves and sharp thorns. If you are planning to hold roses in your hands, it may be an especially good idea to clean the stems first. This model was designed with 3 different sized holes so it can work with different stem thickness.

So, how did we do it? As we mentioned earlier in other posts, Tinkercad is very beginner friendly design software that allows to combine all sort of shapes into one. That’s it, our model is nothing more than cubes, triangles and cylinders put together and some made transparent. We also decorated it with a little flower. This flower was chosen from Tinkercad’s community shape generator. There a good selection of different ready-made shapes that can be adjusted for your model. In our YouTube video we show the designing process in more detail. Also we demonstrate the finished rose thorn remover in action.

If you are both a gardener and a maker, you can print this out as a present to yourself ahead of the spring season. Spring and summer are also known as the wedding season. Expect lots of flowers around.

Rose Thorn Remover 3D Printing Settings

This item is extremely easy to print. It doesn’t need any raft or supports during printing. It takes about 2 hours to print on Delta Wasp 2040 at layer height 0.2 mm.


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