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The saguaro cactus framed by white waves of snow covered bushes and feather like clouds makes a unique sight in the desert. But look quick, this scene from Honey Bee Canyon in Tucson AZ, will soon be melted by the afternoon sun.

A woman in her 40’s who lives in Southern Nevada sustained the first possible “snow-cactus” injury, never before recorded.
Upon history the woman stated she was a big fan of snow and enjoyed using her index finger to draw “smiley faces” in the freshly fallen powder.

Living in Las Vegas, she states that snow is a rarity and when she saw snow fall on Tuesday am she dressed warmly and ventured outside to enjoy the weather.
She walked upon a bed of barrel cactus, native to the Southwest United States and Mexico, and found fresh discs of snow on top.

 


She decided to make a smiley face with her index finger and to her delight the cactus looked happy. However, the prominence of the facial features was not to her liking, so she found a second cactus upon which to draw.

 

As she completed her next smiley face she added the finishing touch of a nose and at that time immediately felt a sharp pain. Withdrawing her index finger she found she had punctured it upon a cactus spine.

 

She was able to remove it, clean the wound, and since her tetanus vaccination booster is up to date (every 10 years) the patient did not require any further medical management.
The patient hopes this case study enlightens others to the medical dangers that lay hidden under freshly powdered snow that falls on desert vegetation.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and is a Board Certified Family Physician
@DrDaliah