Blackthorn Poisoning: A Warning.

File 03-12-2015 8 56 46 pm

On Tuesday evening I was scratched on the hand by a blackthorn, not deeply, but enough to draw blood. Fortunately, I know about blackthorn poisoning: it can be very unpleasant.

A piece of blackthorn burying itself under the skin might cause severe infection, blood poisoning, swelling and pain. If left too long before treatment, amputation might be the result. 

Blackthorns are covered in unpleasant bacteria. If you have a piece buried in your flesh, the best course of action is to get yourself off to the hospital if you have a rapidly escalating and unpleasant reaction; don’t leave it until the area around the wound turns black.

My light scratch was reacting badly to the blackthorn toxins within 5 minutes. I sprayed the area liberally with surgical spirits on my return home, which quickly reduced the angry redness and swelling. I woke in night with the swelling raging, so I sprayed it then and repeatedly since. 

The photograph shows the scratch as I write (Thursday evening) – the redness and inflammation greatly reduced. If I had not treated the infection immediately, the result might be a very swollen and painful hand by now, and a trip to the hospital. 

So the liberal use of surgical spirit has saved me a lot of discomfort and pain. I will continue spraying until the surgical spirit stops stinging as it hits the wound.

I would guess that not many people are aware of the problem blackthorn can be to us and animals.

This entry was posted in Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Blackthorn Poisoning: A Warning.

  1. ramblingratz says:

    Nasty! Thanks for the public health warning, I didn’t know that.


  2. pilipala51 says:

    Nasty scratch Mike. I have had blackthorn embedded in my skin a couple of times…very painful. Fortunately I didn’t suffer any dire consequences. I have never heard of using surgical spirits. Would an antihistamine have helped I wonder? Hope your hand soon heals.


    • Some people are more prone to the effects of hawthorn and blackthorn than others. Surgical spirits is a skin steriliser. Antihistamine just blocks the production of histamine that causes inflammation; it doesn’t zap the bugs.

      My scratch is fine this morning. I’m a big boy and can take it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. tootlepedal says:

    Thank you for the advice.


  4. Ouch. I didn’t know that blackthorn can be so dangerous. Now I know

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My problem would be in identifying a blackthorn – scary

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I didn’t know this, Mike! Hawthorn, too? I sometime gather sloes and hawthorn berries, so I’ll bear this in mind! I hope you heal fully and quickly.


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