Splinter removal

A splinter is a thin piece of material (like wood, glass, or metal) that gets embedded just below the top layer of your skin.

Information

To remove a splinter, first wash your hands with soap and water. Use tweezers to grab the splinter. Carefully pull it out at the same angle it went in.

If the splinter is under the skin or hard to grab:

  • Sterilize a pin or needle by soaking it in rubbing alcohol or placing the tip in a flame.
  • Wash your hands with soap.
  • Use the pin to gently remove skin over the splinter.
  • Then use the tip of the pin to lift the end of the splinter out.
  • You may need to use a tweezers to pull out the splinter after you lift it.

After the splinter is out, wash the area with soap and water. Pat the area dry. (Don't rub.) Apply antibiotic ointment. Bandage the cut if it is likely to get dirty.

See your health care provider if there is inflammation or pus, or if the splinter is deeply embedded. Also, seek medical attention if the splinter is in your eye or close to it.

References

Stone DB, Svordino DJ. Foreign body removal. In: Roberts JR, ed. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2014:chap 36.

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Review Date: 2/4/2014
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2014 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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