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.