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Bumps on arm after planting spruce trees, redness, done massage with hand cream. Can STD be transmitted by contact?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
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I had scratches and bumps on my arm as a result of planting some blue spruce trees. Nothing too XXXXXXX and was not bleeding. Kind of an allergic reaction and was red. I had a massage that same day. No sex encounter, just a massage using a hand cream of some kind. Can any kind of std be transmitted from this contact ?

I checked with the nursery, They say these are actual punctures by the needles. Again, It didn't bleed just red and appears like a scratch all small puncture. What is my risk of contracting anything from a massage. I had checked her hands before massage and didnt notice any cuts or bleading but I was nervous given I had scpares / punctures. The massage was about 6 hours after planting the tree.
Posted Sun, 16 Sep 2012 in Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 4 hours later

The major STDs are chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, trichomonas,genital Herpes simplex, hepatitis and HIV.
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are transmitted strictly via oral,vaginal and anal sexual contact.
Syphilis is transmitted via direct contact with sores on the external genitalia, vagina, anus or rectum.In the absence of any sexual contact and any contact with any sores this will not have been transmitted.

Trichomonas is also only sexually transmitted.

Genital herpes simplex would also be unlikely. This is transmitted by direct skin to skin contact but for transmission to occur contact with lesions or an area where the infection generally occurs would have been necessary. Herpes simplex 1 which is usually associated with oral lesions would have required oral contact and simplex 2 , genital contact.

There are different viruses that can cause hepatitis. Hepatitis c and b can be transmitted via a blood borne route and contact with other bodily fluids. They are not transmitted via casual contact. Hepatitis B is 100 times more infective than HIV, its prevalence in the US is however very low (about 0.1%- 1 in 1000 persons).
It would not likely to be transmitted in the absence of any cuts or bruises on the hands of the masseuse because it would need to be transmitted directly from any infected blood.
Hepatitis c though blood borne, is mainly seen after blood transfusion, iv drug use and unclean medical equipment.

HIV can also be transmitted via a blood borne route, as stated earlier it is not as infective as hepatitis B, so if there is not enough blood contact to transmit hepatitis, it is 100 times less likely to transmit HIV.Again open lesions or bruises would have to be present on the masseuse's hands for infection to occur.

I hope this information is helpful, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Bumps on arm after planting spruce trees, redness, done massage with hand cream. Can STD be transmitted by contact? 2 hours later
The cuts/punctures that I had were made by needles from a tree. Again, they were not bleeding and it was 6 hours later that I received the massage. Given that information, what is the likelihood that I could have been infected with any of the above mentioned even if the masseuse did have a cut? To me it seems extremely low but I was looking for that reinforcement. Your information was very helpful and it has helped but I could use some form of scale of the possible risk? I didnt go the my regular masseuse since it was late. This was a oriental massage parlor that may or may not do other things but now I am letting my mind wonder and getting scared.

Also, I inspected the massuese hands and didn't notice any cuts / bruises / blood but would cuts need to be large enough (i.e. noticeable cuts or blood ) to produce enough blood for infection? Comon sense would tell me (am I am hoping) the answer would be yes. Also, regarding my last correspondence my puctures were small like pricks and the scrapes were also minor. Would the skin naturally have also covered itself to protect itself within those 6 hours.
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 9 hours later

Within the 6 hr window healing would have already started to occur but it would not be complete. At 6 hrs epithelialization (formation of a new layer) would have now started to occur but your body would have already sent different substances to the areas to protect it.
Since there were no obvious cuts, bruises or blood on the masseuse's hands then the liklihood of transmission of infection would be extremely extremely low and unlikely, practically zero.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask anything else
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Bumps on arm after planting spruce trees, redness, done massage with hand cream. Can STD be transmitted by contact? 6 hours later
So it sounds from your response that I am at very low risk given I did not see any cuts on the masseuses hands AND that my cuts/abrasions/punctures had already started to protect itself? Also, my cuts were almost scratch like, not very XXXXXXX and never blead. Wouldn't the cuts have to be at least XXXXXXX enough to draw blood to risk infection from someone else's blood?
The reason I am asking is I checked her hands but I didn't check her arms. When she was stretching me she was also using her arms. What do you feel the risk is given my minor cuts and the time that passed if she did have cuts on her arms?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 5 hours later

In theory all that is needed is broken skin in contact with infected blood for transmission of an infection to occur. The amount of skin that is broken will impact on the likelihood of infection.Your lesions were small so it reduces the chances.

If she had blood or exposed open wounds on her hands and they came into contact with your cuts then there would be a small risk of transmission, but it would be small. Unfortunately there is no medical data to give you the exact level of risk.

Since it will likely worry you (and it is quite understandable in this day and age why it would), you should consider going to your doctor and doing the screening tests. It will put your mind at ease when they come back negative and you will not have to be always worrying what if.
In my early years at the hospital, if I was worried about coming into contact with a patient's blood, I always tested no matter what, it made me feel better when I had the normal results in my hand and it might make you feel a litte easier as well.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask anything else
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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