Splinters are an annoying part of life. So I hope to give you some helpful tips and advice on how to treat them and what to look out for.
Splinters happen when a sharp, thin object – such as wood, glass, plant spikes – gets into your skin; most commonly in one of your toes or fingers.
Getting rid of a splinter
What is the best way to treat to remove a splinter without making it worse?
- Firstly, clean the wound and the tweezers you plan to use with soap and water or an antiseptic liquid, thoroughly.
- Make sure that you can see the splinter clearly, using a magnifying glass if needed, and ensure good light. If the splinter is sticking out of the skin, try to get a firm grip on the end, and slowly and gently pull the splinter out in the same direction and angle that the splinter went in.
- If the end of the splinter is not sticking out, then use a clean, sharp needle to scrape the skin away from the splinter. Once the end is exposed, pull out as suggested above.
- Then wash the wound again, apply with an antiseptic cream and cover with a plaster.
Other useful tips can be to try applying Cello tape to the splinter, and then removing it in the direction of entry – sometimes this will pull it out. It works well if the splinters are very fine, like from a plant. If trying to remove a splinter from a child, numbing the area with an ice cube beforehand can be a good idea.
When do you need to see your doctor?
If any of the following happen, then stop trying to fix it yourself and see your doctor for help:
- The splinter is too deep for you to remove or there is a lot of bleeding.
- There are any signs of infection, such as redness, pain, pus drainage, pain or fever.
- The splinter is near to or involves the eye, or is under a nail.
Prevention is always better than cure, so remember that unvarnished wood, spiny or furred plants, rough-skinned fruits like pineapples or thorny fruits, such as prickly pears, should be handled with care.
Dr Ingrid de Beer for HelloDoctor.com