Whether you go camping in the hot and humid summer months, or the chilly winter months, it is important to know about the types of plants and wildlife common to the area before setting up camp. Many plant varieties hold danger when touched. Prickly plants can irritate skin and cause serious infection through deep thorn punctures.
Thorn punctures come from any plant with thorns, or prickers. Some such plants double as house plants. The Cactus family, Cactaceae, encompasses a vast variety of thorn like plants people bring into their homes. While cacti are not usually poisonous on their own, bacteria and fungus may attach to them and transfer into the skin through a simple prick.
Care should be taken around thorny plants and the family pet. Dogs are not immune from getting thorn punctures. Some cats are attracted the cactus water and can gain a serious injury as they attempt to drain its juice. Plants with thorns, prickers, or that might be poisonous to pets and small children should be placed high out of reach of either.
Thorn punctures in horses and cattle occur more often in the woods. The Russian Olive tree grows up to twenty five feet high. It produces fruit that animals enjoy. The trunk and branches are covered in one to two inch long thorns that can easily penetrate the skin and cause a deep wound. While all puncture wound can become infected, thorn injuries through the heel of the foot cause the most concern for horse and cattle handlers.
For wilderness bicyclists thorn punctures can be a terrible boon. Even the tiniest thorn has the possibility of puncturing a bike tire and causing it to go flat at the worst moments. Usually in the wilderness a spare is unavailable, which leaves the cyclist the option of using a bike tire tube plug kit to fix it, or to walk the bike back. Some companies now offer puncture resistant bicycle tires that claim to protect against flats from thorns, nails, and other sharp objects. Many of these have a thick rubber belt or path under the tire treads. Specialized bike tire tubes with weave like designs claim to also hardness resistance against thorn punctures.
Air mattresses can also be prone to thorn punctures when used on the open ground. Within the last year some companies have made significant improvements in the type of material created for air mattresses meant for outdoor use. Some claim to protect against up to ninety five percent of thorn punctures. A useful item for wilderness lovers of all ages.