Pins and Needles: A Guide to Dealing with Cactus Spines

Running into a cactus is never fun, but it’s a common threat in the Arizona desert. What should you do if it happens to you?

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Zane Khogyani, Columnist

Finding yourself in a situation where you get a cactus needle stuck in you is never fun. Here’s what you can do if this happens. 

First of all, get rid of the biggest needles first. “Start with tweezers and carefully pull out any needles that aren’t completely buried. Pull them out in a single straight motion.” says You don’t want to accidentally break the needle while pulling it out, so you’ll have to be careful. Now that you’ve removed the bigger cactus needles, you can remove the smaller ones. Glue can be used to do so, by applying it to the affected area and waiting for it to dry. Once dry, you can then peel it off. You can also use rubber cement in a similar way, according to wikiHow. Apply an excessive amount of rubber cement in the area of the small cactus needles. Then, wait for it to dry, and peel it off. 

You may have gotten cactus needles on your clothes as well. You can use duct tape by sticking the tape on the clothes and peeling it off—the cactus needles will come off with it. If you happen to get a few in your hair, you can carefully use a comb or scissors to get them out. 

Cactus needles are a painful but unavoidable reality of living in a desert. Above all, it’s important to take them seriously, and treat them with care. If any needles get stuck in your throat, mouth, or face, you should seek medical attention immediately.