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Easy Splinter Removal

09-15-2016

“OWW! OWWWW! Mommy, it hurts!”

How many times have you heard those words blurted through tears as your child parades a splinter before your eyes? And how many times have those words been yelled again as you try to gently remove that splinter?

"Splinters come in all shapes and sizes, and they can really hurt," said Dr. Robert Sidbury, division chief of dermatology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, in a news release from the American Academy of Dermatology. "To reduce pain and the possibility of an infection, splinters should be removed as quickly as possible."

Fortunately, dermatologists say splinters are usually easy to remove from your child or yourself. Here are recommended tips for safe and easy splinter removal:

  • Using soap and water, gently wash and dry the area where the splinter has entered the skin.
  • Use a magnifying glass if the splinter is very small. Look to see the direction it entered the skin.
  • To remove a splinter that is partially sticking out of the skin, first sterilize the tip of a set of tweezers with rubbing alcohol, then use the tweezers to grab on to the protruding part.
  • Don't try to squeeze it out: you risk splitting the splinter into smaller pieces.
  • If the entire splinter is under the skin, you may need a small needle to remove it. Sterilize the needle with rubbing alcohol and pierce the skin surface at one end of the splinter until the end comes up out of the skin. Use a magnifying glass if necessary. Then, use the sterilized tweezers to pull the splinter out.
  • Finally, clean the skin area with soap and water and apply petroleum jelly and a bandage.
Most splinters can be safely removed at home, but some may require medical assistance. Dr. Sidbury said. He recommends seeing your doctor or a board-certified dermatologist if the splinter is very large, deep, located in or near your eye or if the area becomes infected.
Categories: Simply Healthy