While some splinters may work out of the skin on their own, sometimes it is necessary to remove splinters in order to relieve pain and prevent infections. Here is how to remove splinters correctly.
How to remove splinters
Before trying to remove splinters, use an antibacterial wash or warm water and mild soap to wash your hands and the affected area. Dry them thoroughly and then:
- Sterilise your tweezers by putting them into rubbing alcohol for a few minutes before drying them with a sterile cotton ball
- Ensure you have good lighting and, if necessary using a magnifying glass, gently break the skin, using a sterilised needle, over the splinter
- Carefully grasp the splinter with the tweezers and pull it out in the direction it went in
- Disinfect the area
- Apply an antibacterial ointment
- Dress the wound with a sterile piece of gauze, plaster or bandage
- Watch out for infection
If it is necessary to ‘dig deep’ in order to see and grasp the splinter, it is recommended to see a doctor, rather than attempting to remove it yourself.
You should get a doctor or other medical personnel to remove a splinter if:
- It is causing extreme pain
- You are unsure where it came from
- It is deeper than 0.5cm below the skin
- It is close to or by nerves or penetrating into muscles
- It involves the eye
- It will not come out easily
Seeking medical assistance is also necessary if the wound is both deep and dirty or if your last tetanus injection was more than five years ago.
Splinters in public places
Another occasion on which you should seek help by medical personnel is when you are injured by a splinter in a public place, such as on a pub or restaurant table, chair or bench, for instance.
To begin with, the risk of the wound getting infected is higher here, as you do not know who or what has touched the offending piece of furniture before you sustained your personal injury.
What’s more, being hurt by a splinter in such a place may also mean you are entitled to personal injury compensation, because the owners of public establishments have a legal duty to prevent not only slips, trips and falls, but also splinter-related injuries by maintaining their furniture and equipment in a safe condition.
Accident Advice Helpline
We can assist you in making a successful public liability claim, so call our freephone helpline for mobiles on 0333 500 0993, or landlines on 0800 689 0500, as soon after your injury as possible.
Date Published: August 1, 2016
Author: Accident Advice