“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:
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.
- 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.