Splinter Removal 101: When to DIY and When to Go for Urgent Care

Splinters are perhaps the common cold of injuries. Most people throughout their lifetime will have a few experiences with a foreign object embedded underneath their skin.

Despite a widely believed assumption, splinters are not just the pieces of wood children gets stuck with running their fingers over an old banister. A splinter can refer to the broken glass shard that finds itself lodged in your toe or the plant thorn embedded in your thumb.

And while many incidents of splinters turn out not to be a huge deal and can be removed at home with a good pair of tweezers, there are cases when it’s important for a splinter victim to go for urgent care for some professional assistance.   Keep reading and to learn when splinter removal is okay to do on your own and when it’s imperative you see a physician.

Evaluating the Splinter

Once you know you’ve had a foreign object poke through your skin, or that of your child, it’s important to look for signs of a splinter. Inspect the body for small specks under the skin and redness and swelling around the point of entry. If you see any of these things and of course the feeling of something in the skin is present, then it’s fine to proceed with the splinter removal process.

First, after locating the object, clean the area with some water and mild soap.  Next, you’ll want to sterilize a pair of tweezers or a small needle with some rubbing alcohol.

If part of the splintered object is sticking out of the skin, use the tweezers to gently pull it out the entire splinter.

However, if the splintered object isn’t sticking out of the skin, then you’ll have to open a part of the skin and guide the splinter to the hole with the needle. As the splinter starts to stick out the skin, then grab the object with the tweezers.

The only thing left to do after the splinter is removed is clean the wound, apply an antibiotic ointment, and cover the punctured area of the skin with a bandage.

Now should you be one of those individuals who doesn’t like needles or tweezers, there are other alternative methods you can use. 

When Splinter Removal Is no Longer a DIY Project

In cases where you can’t see the splinter but know there is a foreign object embedded in the skin, you should go to urgent care. If you’re unable to remove the entire splinter from the skin, again, go to urgent care. If it turns out that the foreign object embedded in the skin is causing severe bleeding or an allergic reaction, go to urgent care.

And please be advised, that thorns from certain plants can cause some serious health concerns if they splinter off into the skin.

When it Doubt Get Some Help

On most occasions, splinter removal is something that can happen in the comforts of your own home. However, if a splinter is presenting a more dangerous situation than you can handle, or you’d rather be safe than sorry, make sure you contact us or just come on in.