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Splinters Treatment

1. Clean Wound

  • Clean the area with mild soap and water.

2. Care for a Tiny Splinter

  • If it doesn't hurt, let the splinter work its way out over a few days.
  • If it does hurt, touch the area gently with sticky tape and pull away carefully. If this doesn't work, try hair removal wax.

3. Remove Larger Splinter

  • Clean a small needle and tweezers with alcohol.
  • If you can see the end of the splinter, grip it with the tweezers and gently pull out the entire splinter.
  • If none of the splinter is sticking out, follow the path of the splinter with the needle. Open the skin and expose enough of the splinter to remove it with tweezers.
  • If you have trouble seeing the splinter, use stronger lighting and a magnifying glass.
  • Clean wound area again. Apply a bandage and antibiotic ointment.

4. When to Call a Health Care Provider

Most splinters do not need the care of a health care provider.

See a health care provider if:

  • You can't remove the entire splinter.
  • The splinter is deep in the skin or the wound is bleeding heavily.
  • The splinter is under a fingernail or toenail. The health care provider may need to cut a notch in the nail to remove the splinter.

5. Follow Up

  • Ask the health care provider if a tetanus booster is needed.
  • Watch for any signs of infection: redness, increasing pain, swelling, or pus at the site. Call a health care provider if you see any of these signs.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on November 20, 2013

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