We’ve all been there. Taking the kids out in the park or playing in the yard, but no sooner does someone touch an old piece of wooden structure and a sharp pain engulfs a finger. Most splinters are not fatal, but they sure are painful, uncomfortable, and a headache to remove.
Leave it unattended, and infection could set in at the site of a splinter, rendering it more painful, swollen, or red. At times, splinter infections could even cause a discharge. So what’s the best splinter removal technique if your child comes home with one?
The answer to this question isn’t complicated.
Using the right tool and knowing the proper technique can save you and your children a lot of trouble.
What is a Splinter?
A splinter also called a sliver, is a thin piece, usually broken off lengthwise of wood, glass, or metal, that accidentally gets embedded in the skin. At times, it can come out by itself, be easily pulled out, or you could use something to pull it out gently.
However, none of these techniques will work in some situations, mainly when you’re dealing with a sliver with no remaining parts on the skin.
Due to the immense pain such splinters cause, traditional or painless splinter removal methods could cause more discomfort and aggravate the situation. Yet, dermatologists recommend removing all slivers as quickly as possible, especially before the area becomes wet since this increases the chances of infection.
Who is at Risk?
Splinters are everyday problems and could happen to anyone anywhere. However, children most prone to splinter injuries are those exposed to unfinished wood or machines that produce slivers of metal or wood.
Like any other issue, the best way to address it is to take preventive measures when you and the children are around such wood structures or machines. But before you know how to get a splinter out, it is helpful to know the signs and symptoms to help spot it.
Signs And Symptoms to Help Locate a Splinter
At first glance, most splinters are typically small and fully or partially embedded into the skin. They can be large, smooth, small, jagged, or completely invisible. If it’s a large or jagged sliver, this could cause redness and bleeding of the affected area.
But for smooth and small ones that are entirely embedded splinters, you need to remove them with extra care. In such situations, the pain is most indicative of the specific location of the sliver. These areas are usually the hands and feet, although they can also occur in any body part.
Once located, you can follow any of the steps outlined below to remove them depending on the severity.
Steps For Splinter Removal
There is more than one way you can get rid of a sliver. The best approach will depend on the following factors:
• The location of the splinter
• Its size
• The direction it’s embedded in
• How deep it is logged in the skin
So, let’s begin
Irrespective of the technique you use, it’s vital first to wash hands and your child’s affected area with soapy, warm water. Doing this helps avoid infection since a splinter is technically an open wound.
Next, closely inspect the splinter to know precisely what you’re dealing with before attempting removal. Please take notice of the direction from which it entered or if any part is sticking outside the skin.
Also, you can consider soaking the infected area before removing it since this will soften the skin and facilitate removal. Finally, other useful preparatory items are good lighting and, if possible, a magnifying glass to give you a better view.
Precautionary Tip: Never try to squeeze or pinch a splinter out. This could result in the shard breaking into smaller bits, rendering its removal even more complicated.
Tried And Test Method #1: Splinter Remover
This method is suitable whether the splinter is wholly embedded in the skin or has part sticking outside it. You only require the following items:
• Splinter remover
To use a splinter remover, follow these steps:
• The Splinter Remover tool from SplinterAid is sterile. You just need to open the pack and use it.
• Use the Splinter Remover to gently pierce the skin at one end of the sliver.
• With the Sprinter Remover, gently pull out the whole splinter.
• Dispose of the tool after use.
Method #2: Small Needle and Tweezers
This method only works when the entire splinter is below the skin. First, you have to get these items:
• Small needle
• Cotton ball
• Rubbing alcohol
Follow the step below to remove the splinter with the items above easily.
• Use the rubbing alcohol and cotton ball to disinfect the tweezer and needle.
• Carefully lift and break your skin around the splinter with the needle for easy access.
• Once partly exposed, use the tweezer to gently remove it in the same direction it penetrated the skin.
Method #3: Tape
The tape method is better suited for removing plant stickers or tiny splinters from the skin. It only requires something very sticky such as duct tape or packing tape.
To use this method:
• Firmly but gently stick the sliver to the tape with a finger.
• Once adhered to the tape, slowly pull the tape away to remove the splinter along with it.
• Repeat if needed.
The moment the splinter is out, wash the areas with soap and warm water. Dab dry and use a bandage to cover it. This protects it from debris and other foreign material that could get into the wound.
Should You Seek Medical Care?
One might ask: Are there any instances that I may need to take my kids to see the doctor? Generally speaking, you want to seek medical attention if:
- Any sliver pieces are left in the skin.
- The surrounding skin of the splinter is particularly swollen, bloody, painful, or red.
- If the affected child doesn’t have up-to-date tetanus immunization or tetanus vaccination
Splinters affect children and adults alike. Though you can safely remove them at home with DIY methods, some instances may require special splinter removal tools or a doctor’s intervention. You want to prevent infection no matter the situation by cleaning the affected area before and after removing the splinter. But should you notice any signs of infection, seek medical care immediately.