For years I have been metal detecting without wearing gloves, and thought nothing of it, but recently I have noticed my hands have started cracking around the nails, and on occasions have felt quite ill after detecting sessions. I was sure it was metal detecting related so I started to investigate.
When you touch the soil with your bare hands, you never know what nasty stuff is in it, quite often the soil dries your hands and leaves tiny cracks, and this is where the trouble can start !!
The small cracks in your skin allow bacteria and bugs into your system and it's Russian roulette as to what the end result may be.
Bacteria can be found on the human body, within the air you breathe, in water and especially in the soil. Harmful bacteria found within soil can cause potential harm to humans, some forms of bacteria can produce poisonous toxins, which can be fatal if the spores of such bacteria enter our systems.
A single spoonful of healthy soil holds millions of microorganisms, including bacteria which can be fatal if inhaled, ingested or transferred through a wound.
This article is a heads up to all fellow detectorists, not intended to scare, more to educate.
Here are just a few reasons why YOU should wear gloves when metal detecting.
Here are some extracts from various web sites relation skin exposure to soil.
Leptospirosis Weil’s disease
Leptospirosis is a zoonosis - an infection that can be transmitted from animals to humans in various ways including damp soil or water. It is more common in tropical areas of the world but is also found in temperate areas such as Europe, including the United Kingdom (UK). Leptospirosis is caused by spiral-shaped bacteria of the genus (referred to as leptospires), which infect a variety of wild and domestic animals. Leptospires may be pathogenic, which cause disease in animals or humans, or saprophytic, which are free-living in surface waters and are not known to cause disease.
;There are over 250 known pathogenic serovars, which infect different species of animals. The animals can then spread the leptospires in their urine. Nearly all mammals are capable of carrying the bacteria and may therefore spread the disease among others of their own kind, and to other species, including man.
Common animal reservoirs (maintenance hosts) include rodents, cattle and pigs
Infection with leptospires can cause no symptoms at all, a mild flu-like illness, or severe illness the presentation of which is called Weil's disease (Weil's syndrome), with jaundice and kidney failure. Symptoms usually develop 7-21 days after initial infection with leptospires, though rarely the incubation period can be as short as two to three days or as long as 30 days.
Leptospirosis is an acute biphasic illness. Some cases may be asymptomatic or may present in the first phase with the abrupt onset of a flu-like illness, with a severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting. This is known as the bacteraemic phase, when the leptospires spread through the blood to many tissues, including the brain. This phase may resolve without treatment. In some cases, an immune phase may follow with a return of fever, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or a rash. In more severe cases, there may be failure of some organs, the kidneys, or meningitis.
;Generally, cases will recover fully within two to six weeks but some may take up to three months. After infection, immunity develops against the infecting strain, but this may not fully protect against infection with unrelated strains.
Complete recovery is the usual outcome after Leptospirosis and there are unlikely to be any long term effects. However, two to three people in England and Wales die every year from leptospirosis.
Tetanus is a serious bacterial disease that causes muscle spasms and breathing problems. The bacterium that causes tetanus is called Clostridium tetani. The bacteria produce toxins that affect the nervous system. Around one in 10 people infected with bacteria that causes tetanus will die.
Tetanus is uncommon in Australia because of the widespread use of the tetanus vaccine. Anyone who hasn’t been immunised is at risk.
Causes of tetanus
Tetanus bacteria live in soil, dust and manure, particularly horse manure. Infection occurs when the bacteria enter the body through a break in the skin.
Symptoms occur between three days and three weeks after infection. Most cases occur within 14 days. Generally, if symptoms appear very quickly, the infection is severe. Tetanus is not transmitted from person to person.
Bacterial skin infections
Although bacteria can often touch or live on the skin without causing an infection, the risk of getting a bacterial skin infection becomes much higher when the skin is broken.
Many different types of bacterial infections can enter through the skin, but a few are more frequent than others.
Cellulitis, an infection beneath the skin's surface, normally happens after a break in the skin, such as a surgical incision, cut, wound or insect bite. Those at risk for cellulitis include people who have weak immune systems or who handle fish, meat, poultry or soil without wearing gloves.
Sporotrichosis (also known as "Rose gardener's disease")
Which can effect the bones, it is one of a few diseases referred to as rose-thorn or rose-gardeners' disease. schenckii is naturally found in soil, haysphagnum moss, and plants, it usually affects farmers, gardeners, and agricultural workers. It enters through small cuts and abrasions in the skin to cause the infection. In case of sporotrichosis affecting the lungs, the fungal spores enter through the respiratory pathways. Sporotrichosis can also be acquired from handling cats with the disease; it is an occupational hazard for veterinarians.
Sporotrichosis progresses slowly - the first symptoms may appear 1 to 12 weeks (average 3 weeks) after the initial exposure to the fungus. Serious complications can also develop in patients who have a compromised immune system.
Escherichia Coli 0157 (E. coli)
Very small numbers cause illness
Not all E. coli are harmful. Certain strains cause diarrhoea. One type, E. coli O157, causes serious illness and even death, particularly in young children and older people.
E. coli O157 is found in the gut of farm animals. Illness may come from eating undercooked meat and unpasteurised dairy products and from contact with farm animals and soil.
Illness can be caused by eating cooked meats which have been contaminated by raw meats.
watery and sometimes bloody diarrhoea, severe abdominal cramps, and occasionally kidney damage (in more serious cases).
Onset usually 3-4 days, but ranges from 1-14 days.
Duration: usually 2 weeks but longer if complications such as kidney damage develop
This pathogen can produce spores which survive normal cooking. As the bacteria form spores they produce a toxin which is not easily destroyed by cooking.
It is found in cereal products, dust and soil, but most commonly in rice and pasta which has not been kept at the correct temperature.
The bacteria may produce a toxin in the food which causes illness when eaten.
Symptoms: vomiting, stomach cramps and some diarrhoea.
Onset: 1-5 hours.
: usually no longer than 24-36 hours.
Clostridium Botulinum (Botulism)
These bacteria produce a toxin in food which causes a severe illness called botulism which can be fatal. It occurs rarely in the UK. Cases have often been associated with poorly processed canned foods. This type of bacteria produces spores which are not killed in normal cooking and are only destroyed at very high temperatures, i.e. above 121°C for 3 minutes.
The pathogen is found in soil, fish, meat and vegetables.
short period of diarrhoea and vomiting followed by double vision, difficulties in swallowing and breathing. May lead to paralysis. Duration : may persist for 6-8 months. Clostridium Botulinum Botulism These bacteria produce a toxin in food which causes a severe illness called botulism which can be fatal, but rarely in the UK.
The answer to this is simple
Wear waterproof gloves and wash your hands thoroughly before eating and after detecting, for the sake of a few quid keep safe !.
As you may have seen in my reviews I have been using Black Mamba gloves for all my detecting, mechanical work and painting, they are the best !.
Black Mamba's last at least 3 times longer than normal latex gloves, mud don't stick to them, detector adjustments are easy and they keep a lot of the cold out.
I normally get a whole day's detecting out of 1 pair.
A box of 100 Black Mamba gloves cost £18 inc post which is 36p per pair, I'm sure you agree this is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Buy 100 Black Mamba Gloves...free P&P UK only