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: https://bramblegarden.com/2019/07/05/infection-a-warning-to-gardeners/
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, https://mobile.twitter.com/kgimson?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
Instagram : karengimson1, https://www.instagram.com/karengimson1/?hl=en
UK Sepsis Trust for further advice https://sepsistrust.org/
For good garden gloves : http://www.goldleaf-gloves.com/
For insect repellents, there’s currently 20 percent off on their website : https://lessmosquito.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw1MXpBRDjARIsAHtdN-02E9MDRwt0HxoUuXwEEnzH1EVBglUh_Bh0IrBNWvQnVr4sqPiWsNAaAlxDEALw_wcB
Weeding/ gardening gloves : https://bramblegarden.com/2019/05/11/mastergrip-gloves-on-trial