SPLINTERS: How to remove them

Splinters are one of the most common and painful minor injuries and they are so easy to pick up as the summer begins and we’re out in the garden, moving wooden furniture and other garden equipment.

However, it should be relatively simple to remove splinters if you have the proper tools and technique. And, of course, you should remove splinters as soon as possible to avoid infection.

So, here’s the best way to remove them:

  • Wash your hands and the area around the splinter with soap and water and pat dry.
  • Inspect the splinter to see how big it is and in which direction it entered the skin. A magnifying glass may help with this, as may natural or strong artificial light.
  • Remove the splinter with sterilized (in rubbing alcohol) tweezers, if possible. This works if part of the splinter is poking out of the skin and if you can identify the direction it entered the skin – simply pull it out carefully in the opposite direction.
  • Alternatively, use a fine needle to remove the splinter, especially if the splinter is not sticking out. Again, sterilize the needle first. Using a magnifying glass and use the needle to gently open up the surface of the skin at one end of the splinter. Use the needle to expose and push out part of the splinter so you can then use the tweezers to gently pull it out.
  • After removal, once again wash the affected area with soap and water and apply Vaseline. A plaster or small bandage can then be used to protect the area until it has healed.
  • If the splinter is large, deeply embedded, located in a sensitive area, such as around the eye, or infected, visit your GP for medical assistance.
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