Top Tips to Treat and Prevent Splinters

By: Raymond Lee

Isn't it amazing how much pain something as tiny as a splinter can cause? That shard of wood or even glass or metal slips under your skin so stealthily. Then once it is in place, it raises such a ruckus that it feels like a major would instead of just a misplaced silver. What makes splinters so frustrating is that they are seldom easy to get at. They tend to go just far enough beneath the surface of your skin that you have to do some digging to get them out. If you are not careful or if you are a tad less than dexterous, you can irritate or pierce the surrounding skin. You will end up hurting even more and you could possibly develop an infection.

Removing a splinter is easy, once you know the right way to do it. Here are some ways that you can put an end to your pain.

Clean up. Before you do any poking around, wash the area where the splinter is embedded. This will help prevent infection.

Go numb. Rub the area around the splinter with ice. Ice works as a topical anesthetic. It will help reduce your discomfort.

Be well-equipped. Make sure you have the right instrument for splinter removal. In most cases, ordinary household tweezers will do. The kind used for plucking eyebrows works best. You want one with a flat surface rather than a pointed surface. That way, you will get a better grip on the splinter. If your splinter proves stubborn, you may want to try a splinter forceps instead. The forceps has a very sharp, pointed tip that is wonderful for pulling out splinters. It is a great addition to a home first-aid kit. If you don't already have a splinter forceps, you can buy one in a surgical supply store.

Kill those germs. Whichever tool you choose to use, make sure it is sterilized. It is recommended wiping your tweezers or splinter forceps with alcohol. Or you can hold it in a flame. Be sure to let the implement cool to room temperature before you use it.

Take the right angle. Once you grab the splinter with the tweezers or forceps, carefully pull it out at the same angle it went in. This will help you avoid breaking the splinter off. You want to pull it out without leaving any part of it behind.

Go for a soak. If you can't get splinter out completely or if it is stuck, a good soak may help dislodge it. It is recommended immersing the affected area in warm, soapy water for 5 to 10 minutes, three or four times a day, until the splinter lets go.

It is rare that a splinter requires medical attention, but there are circumstances in which it may be necessary. If you cannot remove a splinter and it hurts, see your doctor. A splinter under your fingernail, for example, can be very difficult to get out. And it will cause more pain there than anywhere else. You should also see a doctor if you develop an infection. The site of the splinter may fester and become inflamed because there are bacteria on the embedded object. You should have the splinter looked at, especially if there is a lot of redness around it or there are red streaks emanating from it.

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