The “Tuja accident” happened four years ago. But the 69-year-old man is still battling pain.
– I scratched myself, and it started bleeding. Tuja sap got into the open wound. That’s so bad. The wound was really yellow, and a lot of fluid was coming out, Rune Haukeland told Dagbladet
Four years ago, Haukeland would trim only tujas and wear shorts. During work, he scratches a plant and starts bleeding. This was written by the Enebakk newspaper, which first reported the case.
Thuja is a very popular garden plant. One reason is that it is easy to care for and can be grown both independently and as a hedge. Toxicity has not contributed to the plant’s popularity in the Norwegian home.
Nightmares of pain
14 days later he ended up in the emergency room at Ski, with red and inflamed sores. Doctors are not surprised:
“Everyone knows that thuja contains yellow staphylococci and hot bacteria,” says Haukeland.
– Maybe everyone knows that, but I don’t know that, Haukeland told Dagbladet.
Haukeland pointed out that he never imagined that the consequences after garden pruning could be so painful. Now he wants to warn others not to buy tuja.
Will no longer
Haukeland says he’s heard before that pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems shouldn’t come into contact with thuja plants, but he hasn’t thought about the fact that he himself has to protect himself when gardening.
– It causes unbearable itching, so I warn against touching this plant. If you have children, they may put sticks in their mouths. So they better not find tuja at all, he said.
Rune still has some tuja in his garden, which he bought with his neighbors. Now he hopes to replace it with another.
– If tuja wants to be treated, i wear overalls, a hat and gloves, so that my skin doesn’t come into contact with tuja, he said.
– Giant explanatory problem
– Not turning off
Thuja expert Per Spangen, who works at the Norwegian Green Vocational School, told Dagbladet that people with green fingers should be wary of the “thuja terror”.
– It’s not a lethal poison, but the essential oil can cause skin reactions, and other problems targeting the respiratory tract and itching, Spangen told Dagbladet.
The thuja plant has a lot of essential oils in it. Spangen says that this oil can cause a reaction if it gets on the skin.
– You can find thujas everywhere, this is a very popular garden plant that you often see in the garden. It’s not Tuja directly I’m worried about. There are a number of other plants that most people interact with in nature on a daily basis that people in close contact can respond to, said the lecturer.
He chose the Tromsø palm biscuit and the giant bear biscuit, which are examples of two plants that can cause skin burns.
– But people should remain wary of the reactions that thuja can give, if they do a lot of self-gardening
Women are climate winners
Haukeland is now healthy, but he is still struggling with his hand. He said that he had an ugly scar, and still had an ugly wound on his hand.
– I have to take cortisone, and have had it on prescription since Tuja’s accident. Something that isn’t good to use for a long time, but it itches a lot.
Haukeland said he had been a big consumer of bandages for four years, due to open sores from his fingertips to his shoulders.
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