Infection – Update- 19th July 2019 #gardening

I’ve just had a few weeks I would rather forget. I’ve spent a lot of time sitting here, recovering from an infection.

We spent a year renovating our 1930s summerhouse; it’s on a turntable, so it can follow the sun. I’ve watched the sunrise and sunset from my armchair, pondering on how a simple gardening injury can cause a potentially serious illness.

A few weeks ago I got a splinter in the palm of my hand. I was gardening and sweeping out my potting shed. A tiny drop of blood, it didn’t look serious. So I finished sweeping up before heading to the kitchen. I washed my hands in hot soapy water and extracted the splinter, put on a plaster and never gave it a second thought. I’ve had many thorns and splinters over the years, and always got away with it. This time I wasn’t so lucky and my hand became infected.

I wrote about it here:

The infection spread another 10cm up my arm before stopping, thanks to antibiotics. This is called “tracking” and the pen line is a way of monitoring how fast the infection is progressing. Recovery has been challenging. I had a bad reaction to the tablets and the wound was slow to heal. I’ve finished two courses of antibiotics, but it’s possible there’s still a splinter in my hand as it is still red and sore.

What surprised me was the response on social media. My ‘warning to gardeners” post was viewed almost 120,000 times. It clearly resonated with many people.

I’m sharing some of the responses here. Hopefully it will spread the message to get urgent advice if you think you have any kind of infection, blood poisoning or sepsis. Speed is of the essence. If you don’t have time to read through, follow @SepsisUK and get to know the symptoms of serious infection so you can ask the question “Could it be sepsis.”

Infections were caused by gardening and other outdoor activities. Insect bites, plant sap allergic reactions and accidents with tools and equipment also featured amongst the 31,000 responses.

Here’s some snapshots from my twitter feed:

Abbie Jury wrote:


Nick Aikman wrote :

Georgie Newbery from Common Farm Flowers commented:

Vergette Gardens wrote:

T Dev wrote

Ella Beard wrote:

Owen Griffiths wrote:

Tara wrote :

Lucy Clements wrote:

Lou Nicholls wrote:

Reaction caused by cutting hellebores.

Mike Bray wrote:

Little Silver Hedgehog wrote:

Mrs Brambledown wrote:

Lunacy Towers wrote:

Janice Mills wrote:

Claudia de Yong wrote:

Plot Garden Design wrote:

Grow Like Grandad wrote:

Dorinda Sweales wrote:

Lynn Nothegger wrote:

Caroline Barrett wrote: ….

Fiona -Green Rhapsody- wrote:

Wee C wrote:

Peter Caton Books wrote:

Tanya Anderson wrote :

Val Bradley -Sun Gardening – wrote :

Dorinda Sweales wrote:

Jean Vernon wrote :

Elizabeth Atherton wrote:

Constance Craig Smith- Daily Mail Gardening – wrote:


karen Gimson on twitter @kgimson,

Instagram : karengimson1,

UK Sepsis Trust for further advice

For good garden gloves :

For insect repellents, there’s currently 20 percent off on their website :

Weeding/ gardening gloves :

NHS 111 advice

26 thoughts on “Infection – Update- 19th July 2019 #gardening

  1. Pingback: Incognito Insect Repellent- Review and Prize Draw | Bramble Garden

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  3. Goodness me. So glad it seems to be getting better, but removing the remaining splinter will probably be necessary….? I am amazed at how many people have had such terrible experiences. All the best Karen, and I will definitely be more careful about wearing gloves after all these warnings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cathy. I’m so annoyed with myself for not wearing them in the first place. I’ve got them all lined up now, in groups for different jobs. I won’t risk it again. On another matter, I’m researching the history of my summerhouse. Just discovered that the owner of the house where it came from was Admiral Sir Frederick Inglefield. He died from sepsis following a boating accident on the lake where the summerhouse stood. Enjoy your weekend. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I get laughed at because even in 30c I wear long sleeves and long trousers. Partly because I do not want to burn but mainly because my skin is very sensitive to bites and stings. Euphorbia pruning calls for gauntlets and I leave Virginia creeper pruning to someone else after I was left with blistered arms from contact.
    Wishing you a continued improvement

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Karen worries me that you can still have small splinters in your hand. Make a Surgeon look at you. I tell you because years ago my sister spiked a finger with a cactus with thorns, she took off the thorns but her finger still hurt a lot and she got infected and had to give herself an antibiotic ointment. At the end the GP sent it to the surgeon and he opened his finger a little bit (he did not have to give it any points) and extracted two pieces of cactus thorns and pus. Do not leave it please Karen. Your Summer House has been divine, I love it, and the garland of flowers it has is fabulous, I like it very much. Your infection has had a lot of repercussion and many people have tweeted it and it has spread and people have told their experiences: it is very good because the dangers of gardening have been disclosed if you are not equipped. I already told you that at first I did not wear gloves and that one day a bug bit me and my hand got very swollen with a lump in my palm. I had to go to the hospital in the emergency room and there they cured me and sent me antibiotics. Since then, for gardening, I always use gloves, a long-sleeved shirt that I put under my gloves, long pants, summer basketball shoes with socks, and in spring and autumn my knee-high boots. But if in the summer I have to stick in tall grass, I put on my rubber boots and tuck my pants inside them. Is that there are vipers in the area of ​​the country house, I saw one in my garden 5 or 6 years ago. A viper bit my beloved dog Anton who died two years ago, and he put his head double his, I do not exaggerate, and that I took him to the vet as soon as he came with my father and told me that he had bitten viper. I did not change my gardening clothes: I took him running to catch him in time. He was given a lot of injections and was on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories for more than 15 days. Fortunately, there were no sequels left and his liver and kidneys were perfect. But we were more than a month going to the vet and with medication. And although there are no snakes, there are a lot of bugs that can sting you and give you a scare like me in the hand. Since I “dressed up” to do gardening, I have not had any problems except to spend a lot of heat in summer: but that is fixed by a good shower when the task is finished. Karen will think I’m a heavy one and I am, but go to the doctor and they’ll look at your hand please. Karen love and health and strength for your whole family and for you. Take good care of yourself and rest in your beautiful Summer House. Very loving greetings from Margarita.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Margarita. You are a good friend and this is good advice. The doctor is deciding what to do, and probably hoping the splinter will work it’s way out on its own. Your poor dog. We have grass snakes here, but they are not poisonous. We also have adders, but they are fortunately rare. Thanks again. Loving greetings in return . Best wishes . Karen xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Karen for considering me a good friend: you are too. That’s why I’m so heavy with the splinter. It will cover layers of skin over time as happened to my sister with the two cactus spines and at first sight nothing was seen. My sister had to insist to the family doctor when she had already had a swollen finger and antibiotic ointment for a while to send to the Surgeon. Insist your doctor. Sorry to put me where they do not call me. But I do not want to see you again badly. Take care. Loving greetings from Margarita.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Karen you’ve done very well to highlight all the symptoms you can illustrate. Allergies to nature are another problem that can turn nasty and in some instances you would not know you had allergy to XY or Z till you’ve had the experience of it, (speaking as someone who has had experential learning!)

    Thinking about sepsis I bought a pair of gardening gloves, for the bit that I do, a couple of week ago, to replace my very old ones. Yesterday, I found a heavy duty pair that fits a ladies medium sized hand. They were double the price of the other ones. I got them for tackling thorny jobs, dealing with nettles and the occasional Thistle. I do have a flourishing Euphorbia and when I go near that, sleeves are de rigeur as are full length trousers. The heavy duty gloves will be covering my hands. Though probably on the warm side for a warm/hot summer’s day, they are thermal lined, I reckon these gloves are going to be worth it.

    Are you thinking of doing a programme on the dangers of sepsis in our domestic sphere?

    By the way, I should emphasise here, in case anyone is put off gardening that gardening is not the only danger source by a long chalk. My worst experiences were not from gardening.

    Liked by 1 person

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