How to remove a splinter

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I'm Dr. Alan Greene and let's talk about splinters. How do you get them out? If the splinter is still sticking up above the skin, the best thing to do, if tweezers are available, is to get a pair of tweezers. Clean tweezers, you clean them with alcohol. And rather than messing around with your fingers where you may push the splinter beneath the surface, go right for the tweezers. Grasp the end of the splinter. And then here's the trick. You pull it in the same angle that the splinter went in.

Often though the splinter is already gone beneath the surface of the skin. And if that's the case, the best way to get it out is usually to take a pin or a needle - to get that clean with alcohol - and then to gently get rid of the skin. Move aside the skin that's just above the tip of the splinter. Use the needle then to lift up the tip. And then often you use tweezers, just like we talked about before, to grasp and pull the angle that it went in.

Either way though, however far the splinter went in, it's a smart idea to wash the area with soap and water once you're done. Because when the splinter goes in, it can bring bacteria that could set up an infection.

How to remove a splinter

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  • Last reviewed on 9/18/2011
  • David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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This page was last updated: April 14, 2014

         
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