Sabra dermatitis is a occupational dermatitis that the workers who pick the prickly pear are known to have . I live in phoenix arizona and the prickly pear are native and can be found everywhere. These things are covered with glochids that are very hard to see because they are small like peach fuzz, translucent to a very light yellow in color , sharp as razor blades with barbs like fish hooks that break off at the slightest touch and can become wind born . The workers are not allowed to pick the fruit if the wind is blowing and have to be wetted down even when it isn't. I here in phoenix have gotten into the glochids. First pain was in my foot and after having multiple spinal surgeries can not spend the day with foot in face. I went to the emergency room 2 years ago and was escorted out by security after being told I had nothing in my foot and not treated very nice by the staff. I tried for weeks to believe them the thing is I continued covering myself in these things. You can pass them person to person or your pet gets in them your pet can give them to you. I kept wearing the shoes. I can not tell you how long I did this . I was diagnosed as a skin picker . Last November after 6 months of ear infections caused by the glochids I went back for help and never got an examination. This past April I got the first of 2 referrals to remove the cactus needles and debris from deep in the cartilage of my ears but the skin picking disorder has taken a toll and I have not found a place to use my referrals. I sit here now with double ear infections , I wish that is the only place I have these. I have scars on my genitals, on my nose and they are in my tongue and when I have an outbreak my heartburn can not be stopped . I call it an outbreak they never really go away ,sometimes it is worse than others. 2 years of begging for help and that alone has beaten me down. In the past few years medical papers have been written on the subject and it says most dermatologist have never heard of sabra dermatitis or what a glochid even is. It also says if someone just shows up withs similar dermatological issues in an area that the prickly pear cactus grows ,sabra dermatitis should be considered as the culprit. I think every doctor in the southwest especially arizona should be familiar with local plants and the dangers they can pose but I assure you as 99% of the doctors here are not from here they are clueless on the subject. Glochids are tiny barb like slivers that pose more risk than other part of a cactus.. only certain types of Cactus have glochids . I still have them in my foot and the scars hurt but I truly think the ones I have injested will be what gets me . If I could use my experience to stop others from having to go through it I will gladly do so the thing is it takes someone willing to listen and actually care enough to look.
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Forgive the spelling and mistakes in my post please ,sick ,4am and a podunk Alabama education. Still not a skin picker
Hello @buddybuddy, Welcome to Connect. I rode my bicycle into some larger cactus as a kid and remember how painful it was getting all of the small barbs out of my skin. I was not aware of Sabra dermatitis but ran across a few articles one offering some suggestions as to how local people have dealt with the condition.
"Treatment of affected skin is usually carried out at home and medical advice is rarely sought. Simple procedures include washing with warm, soapy water, shaving the area, brushing it with a stiff brush, applying a peeling. ointment, or stripping with hot wax. Probably the most
effective remedy is to strip off the bristles with adhesive tape. Persistent conjunctivitis requires expert attention and location of the glochid by examination with a slit-lamp." — (1975) Dermatitis and keratoconjunctivitis caused by a prickly pear (Opuntia microdasys): https://journals.co.za/doi/pdf/10.10520/AJA20785135_24083
— (2020) Sabra dermatitis: combined features of delayed hypersensitivity and foreign body reaction to implanted glochidia: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/2157f9g0
I'm guessing it's much harder get the glochids off than to protect your skin and face areas. The article from 1975 was from the South African Medical Journal. Have you tried any of the methods listed above to get them off?
yes sir thanks for your response and i have tried them all and more. cactus growers will tell you glochids are for life that being said i have yet to find one that believes in sabra dermatitis . it does not affect everyone the same and i believe my severe incident is a result of continuing to fight my reality and believe it was in my head and continued wearing those shoes. i bring this up again because when this started i was homeless and got a 10 min shower every Wednesday not homeless anymore and when my sores are not as noticeable and im able i drive a public transportation vehicleSabra dermatitis is a unique form of granulomatous
dermatitis directly attributable to glochidia
implantation. The nature of the inflammatory
response is one that combines features of classic
delayed hypersensitivity and an innate foreign body
response. The glochidia are capable of eliciting a T
cell mediated immune response. It is reasonable to
assume that a TH1 cytokine signal is responsible for
the unique pattern of inflammation including the
secondary influx of neutrophils and relative lack of
tissue eosinophilia. The dermatologist should have a
high index of suspicion that a patient who suddenly
develops a vesicular dermatitis in geographic areas
indigenous for Opuntia cactus could have sabra
I had an ENT doctor this morning. I have 4 viruses 1 that can only be treated by iv all from the cactus I have in my skin. It took 2 years for someone was willing to look at and test for what I said was wrong . Let's hope my Infectious disease doctor can help me gain some of the trust back that has been lost with medical professionals
Hi! Oh my goodness I’m not per say “happy” to see your article, but I am! I am dealing with the same exact thing you are! I have had it almost a year now and I am MISSERABLE!! I’d like to talk to you somehow if that is possible, about this situation that we’re both going thru. I have seen a dermatologist and been to the ER 3 times and I’m just to the point that I feel like I’m doomed. I’m so depressed about it and don’t know what to do. But I’d like to hear from you if that is okay ? I tried giving you my email address but it wouldn’t let me. ?
Hope to hear back from you …
Hello @macschic, Welcome to Connect. Sorry to hear you are dealing with the same symptoms as @buddybuddy. I'm not sure this member is still following Connect but hopefully they will see your post and respond. I have don't have sabra
dermatitis and the only information I've found has been through PubMed (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=sabra+dermatitis&sort=date) and Google Scholar (https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=sabra+dermatitis+treatment&hl=en&as_sdt=0,24)
@buddybuddy posted above that they saw an ENT doctor and had 4 viruses from the cactus and needs to be treated by IV.
Have you thought about seeking help at a major teaching hospital or health facility like Mayo Clinic?
I cannot beleive I have found this chat. I have been SUFFERING from glochids for close to three years. Cannot find help. Dermatologists and ER medics diagnose skin picking attributed to a disilusional state. My whole life has been turned upside down from this terrible accident while gardening. My nose, ears, right hand and navel have been affected.
Constant pain, poor sleep and disfuguring scars have left me reclusive and in shambles. I only wish one healthcare professionnal would take the time to properly examine and research this condition.
Good evening @rochpaquette and welcome to Connect. We are a group that believes sharing your experiences can help others have an improved quality of life. I have spent quite a bit of time with my dermatologist in the last three years as I ran into some tough neuropathic itch flares.
I must admit I do not know anything about glochids in humans. Would you please explain? I do understand the pain, poor sleep, and disfiguring scars. And I find that I choose clothes that cover up the scars so no one will be shocked. Perhaps that is becoming a little less outgoing.
I look forward to learning more about your condition, e.g. what medications have you used? Have you tried photolight therapy?
May you be safe, free, and protected from inner and outer harm.
Hi, 1 year and a half ago I picked up a prickly pear cactus with my bare hands. My cousin gave it to me. I immediately felt the burn and pain in my hands. It didn't look like it had thorns on it, but was mistaken about glochids. I had never heard of them. Well, to this day I still break out and have glochids coming out of my skin. I'm not as bad as you. I have it on my face and hands. Drs don't believe me and it is painful. I feel so helpless. What should I do????