How to remove a splinter

How to remove a splinter

Splinters to the eye or other delicate parts of the body should be left to the care of medical professionals. Go to the local hospital emergency room to have these injuries addressed there. Any splinter that appears to be buried deep in the skin or to have especially sharp or threatening edges should be seen by a doctor.

Simple skin splinters often can be cared for at home. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Examine the splinter area carefully to see how deep it is and how badly the skin is torn. If the splinter appears fairly superficial, wash the affected area with antibacterial soap and warm water. Use a gentle wiping motion to prevent the splinter from becoming more deeply embedded in the skin. Try not to move it.

Prepare a solution of one-half water and one-half hydrogen peroxide. You need just an ounce or so. Pour it over the splinter area. If the splinter is small or deeply wedged into the skin, and the mixed solution does not dislodge it, try a half-ounce of straight (unmixed) peroxide on the splinter, rinsing with clear water. Give the splinter a few minutes to see if it starts to come out.

If the splinter does not emerge enough so that you can grasp it with your thumb and forefinger, sterilize a pair of manicure scissors. You can do this by holding the points over a stove flame with the handle steadied by a pair of tongs for 15 seconds. Or you can wash the scissors and pour rubbing alcohol over the tips. Use the tips to gently grasp the edge of the splinter if it is large enough to do so.

If the splinter is too small to grasp with scissors or you fear the end will be snipped off, sterilize a pair of tweezers, using the same sterile procedure as indicated for the scissors.
Use the tweezers to grasp the edge of the splinter and pull it in the direction in which it is embedded. For example, if it protrudes from the skin and points right, pull it gently but firmly to the right. Use a quick tug to try and remove the splinter.

If this fails to remove the piece, and if it is small, you can wait a day or two to see if it comes out on its own. Many do. But if the splinter is thick, long, or particularly dirty or nasty, consult your doctor to get a medical opinion. Most splinters are harmless and eventually work their way out of the skin. But some remain embedded and lead to inflammation or infection, requiring medical attention.

The important thing is to keep an eye on the splinter so that you can head off any developing problems. You may want to apply a daily peroxide treatment for the first couple of days or apply a thin quarter-inch amount of antibiotic cream to help kill germs.

Always wear work gloves when handling wood or equipment that requires them to prevent splinters.

Always wear
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