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Removing Splinters

Topic Overview

Before using tweezers or a needle, try using cellophane tape to remove a splinter. Simply put the tape over the splinter, then pull the tape off. The tape will stick to the splinter and remove it painlessly. If tape doesn't work:

  • Wash your hands well with soap and water.
  • Grasp the end of the splinter with clean tweezers, and gently pull it out.
  • If the splinter is embedded in the skin, clean a needle with alcohol and make a small hole in the skin over the end of the splinter.
  • Lift the splinter with the tip of the needle until it can be grasped with the tweezers and pulled out.
  • Do not wet or soak the splinter because it will be harder to remove in one piece.
  • After the splinter has been removed, clean the wound and watch for any signs of infection.

You may need medical care if the splinter:

  • Is very large.
  • Is deeply embedded in the skin.
  • Cannot be easily removed.
  • Is in the eye.
  • Broke off and part of it remains in the wound or if you are uncertain if the splinter has been removed.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: June 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine

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