Grown in gardens or pots, and native to many desert areas, cacti create interesting focal pieces to any environment. While visually appealing, cactus plants also cause numerous injuries with their sharp spines to unsuspecting admirers. Whether you are on a hike or simply have an unfortunate run in with a house cactus, treating your injuries is critical to preventing infection.
Treating a Cactus Wound
Using tweezers, remove the largest spines from the injured area. Many cactus spines are large and easily visible. Grasp them firmly with tweezers and pull them out in a slow straight motion. Some cacti spines have barbed ends, which could make this process more painful or difficult. Remember to work slowly, or you could further damage the injured tissue.
Apply a piece of duct tape to the injured area before cleaning the injury site or even washing your hands. Cacti often have very small, fine spines that accompany the larger more visible spines. These are often missed, and can irritate and cause infection if left in the skin. By applying duct tape, you catch the small spines. Gently remove the duct tape from your skin. This will remove all the small spines. Discard the duct tape.
Apply gentle pressure to the injury site, allowing it to bleed. Cacti spines cause puncture wounds. To help lessen the likelihood of an infection, allow the injury to bleed a couple of drops before cleaning it. This can be done by applying very gentle pressure around the wound, but not directly to it.
Clean the wounded area. Wash the area with soap and warm water. Clean the area thoroughly but gently.
Bandage the injury. Apply antiseptic or antibacterial gel and a bandage to the injury. This will help prevent foreign material from getting into the wound and causing an infection. For any additional swelling, apply ice or a cold pack to the area.
If you experience an allergic reaction or have any symptoms that concern you, seek medical attention immediately.