First Aid

    Splinters are objects that become embedded under the skin. Most often these are tiny pieces of wood, although glass, metal, and plastic can be splinters too.

    Taking a splinter out as soon as you spot it helps prevent infection and makes removal easier (since the skin won't have time to heal over the splinter).

    Signs and Symptoms

    • a small speck or line under the skin, usually on the hands or feet
    • a feeling that something is stuck under the skin
    • pain at the location of the splinter
    • sometimes redness, swelling, warmth, or pus (signs of infection)

    What to Do

    To remove a splinter:

    • Wash your hands, then the area around the splinter with soap and warm water.
    • Sterilize tweezers and a needle by putting the ends of each in boiling water, then wipe them off with a clean cotton ball or alcohol pad.
    • If the splinter is sticking through the skin, firmly grip the end with the tweezers. Pull slowly and gently at the same angle the splinter went in so it won't break.
    • If the tip of the splinter isn't sticking out, gently scrape the skin away from the splinter with the needle until there's an end to grab with the tweezers.
    • After the splinter is removed, wash the area again and cover it with a bandage.

    Get Medical Care if:

    • the splinter seems to be too deep or won't come out
    • the splinter is under a fingernail or toenail and can't be reached
    • the wound is bleeding a lot
    • the skin around the wound looks infected
    • your child's vaccines are not up to date

    Think Prevention!

    Make sure kids:

    • don't rub their hands on wooden surfaces (picnic tables, outdoor furniture, playground equipment, railings, toys)
    • wear shoes on decks, boardwalks, and docks, and when wading in water
    • wear slippers or shoes after glass breaks on the floor
    • steer clear of bushes and plants with thorns or spikes
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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