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Removing a Fishhook - Topic Overview

Do not try to remove a fishhook (seek medical care instead) if any of the following are true:

  • The fishhook is in or near an eye. See first aid measures.
  • The fishhook is in a joint, in a bone, or deep in a muscle.
  • You are concerned that removing the fishhook may damage nearby blood vessels or nerves.
  • The person who is injured is not calm and cannot help.
  • You are afraid to remove the fishhook.

If none of the above conditions are true, try to remove the fishhook.

  • First, cut any fishing line, fish, bait, or lure from the fishhook. This is best done with sharp, side-cutting pliers.
  • Use ice or cold water for 2 to 3 minutes to numb the area.
  • If the barb of the fishhook has not entered the skin, pull the tip of the hook back out.
  • If the barb is embedded in the skin, first try the string-pull method slideshow.gif.
  • If medical help is not available and the fishhook is deeply embedded in the skin, try the advance-and-cut method slideshow.gif. Push the hook the rest of the way through the skin, snip off the barb with wire cutters, and remove the rest of the fishhook from where it entered the skin. If medical help is available, have a deeply embedded fishhook removed by a doctor or nurse.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: April 22, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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