Splinters are usually wood, glass, or metal shards that penetrate your skin. This is something that has gone accidentally into your skin or has been inserted intentionally. These splinters are a common nuisance for both children and adults. They can be painful and can even cause infection. Some splinters can be removed at home with some basic tools or instruments, but deep splinters may need medical assistance.
To bring the splinter to the surface, you can carry out any of the following procedures at home:
- Use tweezers: Tweezers should not be used directly. Sterilize them by boiling in water for a minute, by moving them over a flame, or by cleaning them with alcohol or vinegar. Wash your hands before using the tweezer. If you can see some part of the splinter about the skin surface, try removing the splinter with tweezers. Hold the splinter firmly between the tweezers and pull it out gently.
- Use needles: For a splinter that is located under the surface of the skin, make use of needles to remove it. Use a sterilized (wiped with alcohol) needle. Gently break the skin over the object with the help of a needle and lift the tip of the object. Make use of tweezers or nail clippers to remove the object.
When to seek medical help for the splinter?
If you feel that the splinter is deeply embedded in the skin or muscle:
- Do not attempt removing it
- Bandage the wound (without pressing on the splinter)
Visit a doctor if
- The splinter has penetrated the skin deeply.
- You could remove a portion of the splinter and the rest remains in the skin.
- A splinter is under the fingernail (it is often difficult to remove it).
- The splinter is near the eye or in the eye.
- The splinter wound looks dirty and your last tetanus vaccination was more than 5 years ago.
What will a doctor do for a splinter?
Below are a few things that the doctor will do for a splinter:
- The doctor numbs the area and makes an incision to remove all fragments of the foreign body.
- If the splinter is underneath the fingernail, the doctor may have to remove the fingernail.
- If the patient has an infection, the doctor will clean the area and remove the splinter.
- The doctor may suture the wound if it is too large or deep.
- They may prescribe antibiotics.
- They may also administer you a Tetanus shot.
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Bannerman CC. Wound Foreign Body Removal. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1508207-overview
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