I have a cactus barb stuck inside my finger. Has been there almost 3 weeks. Wondering what is a good way to draw it out, as opposed to surgery

It can be a tedious and time consuming task to remove cactus barbs or even cactus thorns and spines, because they are tiny and difficult to see with the naked eye. Usually they can be removed with some effort with tweezers. Removing cactus barbs with the help of tweezers is among the most effective home remedies.

In order to remove barbs with tweezers, first sterilize the tweezers by rubbing alcohol. Then wash your hands under warm running water and soap for around 8-10 minutes and dry it with a clean cloth. Washing hands with warm water for a long time will soften the skin and make it much easier to remove the barb. Pull out all visible barbs with the tweezers.  

If there are still some barbs left in the skin, you can then try removing it with the help of some household glue. Spread a thin layer of glue (or rubber cement) on the affected area and allow it to dry for at least half an hour. After it has dried, roll the dry glue starting from the edges. Do not apply the glue in puddles or blotches, as it will make it difficult for you to peel it out, plus it will not provide best results. Apply it in the form of a thick stripe; you will be able to remove it much more easily.

Dos and Don'ts
  • Don’t use super glue. It won’t roll up, plus it may just cement the barb into the skin. You could try hair-removal wax instead.
  • Don’t yank out the barbs with your fingers; it may leave microscopic bits in the skin which will become impossible to remove and may get infected.
  • Don’t suck it out with your mouth as it may just get stuck in your tongue or somewhere inside your mouth.
  • Apply a thin coat of topical corticosteroid or antibacterial ointment to the affected area (except the face) for a couple of days. Avoid using corticosteroids for long periods of time.
  • See a doctor if a barb does not budge. Allowing it to remain in the skin may lead to dermatitis.
  1. http://dermatology.cdlib.org/DOJvol7num2/unknown/cholla/cholla2.html
“First Aid, CPR, And AED: Academic Version”, By Alton L. Thygerson, Benjamin Gulli, M.D., Jon R Krohmer, M.D

answered by G M

Seek your physician's guidance, in the presence of inflammation or pus formation. If on surface, tweezers might prove helpful. Some prefer using a sterilised sharp object to pull it out. Soaking in warm water and topical application of an antibiotic cream is beneficial.

answered by r k

Warning: home-remedies-for-you.com does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. see additional information
Read more questions in Injuries