ZocdocAnswersHow should you remove a splinter from the skin?

Question

How should you remove a splinter from the skin?

Terrible splinter in my hand from working on my neighbor's deck. Can't seem to get it out. How can you safely remove a splinter from your skin? Do I have to go to the doctor to make sure that it is not infected?

Answer

There are a number of different ways to approach getting a splinter out. Let me start out by saying that if you are at all concerned that your hand may be infected, I would definitely recommend making an appointment to be evaluated by a physician. Depending on what type of substance the foreign body (i.e. "splinter") is made out of, it may not be safe to try and remove on your own. For instance, if it is a thin piece of glass, or a barbed hook it might be better to let a professional remove it instead of even trying at home. With that being said, and I am assuming this is the case in your situation, most splinters are small fragments of wood that can be removed at home. If it is at all visible, then usually a good set of tweezers can grasp it to pull it out. If there is skin overlying the end of it, sometimes a clean needle (to make sure its clean, boil it in water for 5 minutes and let it cool before using) can be used to remove the thin layer of skin overlying the end of the splinter enough that it can be grasped with the tweezers. If this doesn't work, the splinter isn't too deep, it isn't draining pus or the surrounding skin isn't red (a sign of infection), then it is also reasonable to just wait and see if the splinter works its way out over a week or two. If you are concerned at all, I would recommend having your primary care physician take a look at it. Best of luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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