With their plentiful dagger-sharp thorns, it’s not hard to understand how the hawthorn tree got its name. Depending on the variety of hawthorn, the thorns on the trees’ branches, twigs and even trunks can be straight or curved. Some thorns can measure up to four inches long. Not only can the thorns cause puncture wounds, there have been cases in which they have have been responsible for bacterial infections and allergic reactions.
Thorn Wound Dangers
With their sharpness and size, a hawthorn tree’s thorns can cause serious wounds. When pruning, heavy gloves and goggles should be worn. There have been cases of eye scratches from the thorns that have led to blindness. Contact with thorns can also cause puncture wounds in the skin. If you are wounded by the thorns you should get a tetanus shot if you have not had one in the last 10 years.
Not only can a scratch or puncture wound from a thorn cause pain, some people can be allergic to hawthorn thorns. Those who are allergic may have intense pain that lasts for several days and swelling around the injury. Antihistamines can help with allergic reactions, but if the injury does not improve within a few days, a doctor should be consulted.
Plant pathogens on the thorn have also caused infections in those with hawthorn puncture wounds. In one case, a child developed septic arthritis due to the bacteria Curtobacterium after being punctured by a coxspur hawthorn thorn. Another child was infected with the bacteria Pantoea agglomerans and Enterobacter cloacae after injury from a thorn that lodged under her skin.