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29 June 2005

Objects in the skin

Have look at how to remove splinters or pieces of glass and metal.

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Most splinters or pieces of glass or metal can be removed easily.

Home treatment

  • Wash your hands. Don’t let the area around a wooden splinter get wet. Wood swells when wet, which will make it more difficult to remove the splinter.
  • If the splinter is visible above the skin, squeeze the flesh around it which will either let it pop out, or make it easier to grab. Sterilise a pair of tweezers in an open flame, allow it to cool and wipe off the soot. Remove the splinter, at the same angle as its entry.
  • If a part remains embedded immediately below the skin surface, sterilise a needle, and gently loosen the skin around the splinter. Try to lift the end of the splinter. Then, by using the tweezers again, make sure that the entire splinter is removed.
  • Once it is removed, squeeze the flesh around the wound to bring about a little bleeding. This will help remove any dirt. Clean the area with soapy water, let it dry and apply an antiseptic ointment.

See a doctor if:

  • you cannot remove the splinter
  • the area becomes infected
  • your tetanus immunisation is not up to date. Splinters and other foreign bodies carry the risk of tetanus.
 
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