Thorn pricks

It’s common to get pricked by a thorn while working in the garden, plucking flowers, fruits or vegetables.

Better not ignore a thorn prick. You need to be watchful. A simple thorn prick may lead to serious medical emergencies like cellulitis, abscess formation, lymphangitis, synovitis or even sepsis or shock like condition.

Earliest treatment is essential.

If you observe any of the following symptoms, medical intervention may be needed.

Signs To Look For

  • Pain or redness at the site of prick
  • Swelling of the finger or part of the body that has got pricked
  • A deep prick that has resulted in substantial bleeding
  • If a part of the plant has got trapped into the skin during the prick
  • Fever, Chills
  • Throbbing pain in the pricked finger
  • Feeling weak or nauseated sometime after the prick
  • Weakness in any part of the body sometime after the prick
  • Yellow discharge from the injured site

Can a Prick Be Poisonous?

Yes, rarely though, a few pricks are poisonous. They may inject chemical potent enough to paralyze your muscles or affect the brain tissue .

Common pricks

  • Prick from a rose thorn or any other flower like bouganvillea, that comes with thorn
  • Touching a cactus and getting pricked
  • Pricked by Sporothix, a fungus usually grown over roses, moses etc and commonly seen


This fungus may exist over roses shrub grown in your garden. It is also present over moses, and may be inhaled from it.

If you get prick by a rose infected by this fungus, the fungus may get injected into your body at the site of puncture. After entering the body, the fungal spores grow and replicate to spread quickly into the body tissues.

They infect the puncture site, where you may see pus. As they spread via lymphatic channels, it’s common to see swollen lymph nodes of the near by areas.

If left untreated, the whole lymphatic channel gets infected, a serious condition called lymphangitis, where you have fever with chills, loss of appetite. Lymph is in touch with every vital organ of the body, including the brain. The fungus gets a chance to affect your brain.

Prick from this fungus is sometimes rightly called a prick of death.


Why Does It Occur?

Occurs due to a break in the skin integrity, that allows bacteria lying over it to get into the underlying tissue.

Cellulitis occurs when the infection reaches into the deeper subcutaneous tissues spaces.


  • The area of skin affected is warm, red and slightly swollen.
  • It is usually painful.
  • Cellulitis is often accompanied by lymphatic tissue involvement. You may see a red streak going up from the affected limb.
  • Else, nearby lymph nodes may be seen swollen.


  • There may be a broken part of the thorn in the punctured wound. First of all, we need to remove this.
  • Stretch the affected skin area gently and apply an adhesive tape or a simple cello tape over it . Tiny portions of the broken thorn are likely to get stuck to it.
  • Self examine the wound under a hand lens. If you still notice any broken thorn part of any other foreign body inside, wash the affected area under cool water.
  • This may wash it away. If it’s still there, you need sterilized needle to tweezers to carefully remove it.
  • Next comes controlling bleeding. If the site bleeds, it’s advisable to let it bleed a bit. This is beneficial as it washes away any foreign object or infecting germs that have been trying to enter the prick site.
  • Excess bleeding may be stopped by directly applying pressure over the site or injury.
  • Next, apply an antibiotic ointment over the prick site liberally.  This is to arrest infection. You may bandage it, if the injury is big.
  • It’s not advisable to use hydrogen peroxide or betadiene for cleaning, as these chemicals delay healing.
  • Watch the site of prick. If you notice any alarming sign, rush to the emergency at the earliest to avoid emergencies.

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