Last year, after the summer was winding down, I was out of town at an outdoor market, surrounded by hundreds of people in a country setting. As I slid by someone, my hand dragged over an old fence post. I felt a large, pointy, old piece of wood plunge deeply into my fingertip. It was extremely painful and I was not prepared. Neither was anyone else in this town, as I could barely find a bandage. I soon noticed that without having the proper tools for removal, it could be, and was, a very long and painful day or two. I bandaged my wound with minimal success and went into work the next day, to find the proper tools to get the splinter out.
Here is what is best to do:
• Wash the area thoroughly with warm, soapy water.
• Soak the affected area in warm water to soften up the skin.
• Have good lighting and a magnifying glass if possible.
• Do not squeeze the splinter out, as it could break apart into smaller pieces.
• Pull the splinter out from the same direction it went in.
Choosing the right tool.
There are several different types of splinter removal tools. Something I have since added into my cars’ first aid kit is “Splinter Out”. It’s a pack of ten, individually wrapped and sealed metal tools with a rigid point at the end of it. It does an amazing job when you are out in the middle of nowhere. ZEE has a tweezer with needle attached to it or a tweezer with a built-in magnifier so you can get an “in-depth” look. Either of these tools are great to have. Disinfect any tool (and the wound) with an antiseptic wipe or rubbing alcohol before using.
After you remove the splinter…
• Breathe a sigh of relief. You did it!
• Go wash your hands again with warm, soapy water.
• Dry off and add a bit of antibiotic ointment to the open wound.
• Cover with a bandage.
When to see a Doctor:
• If the splinter is in too deep or too large.
• If it is in or near your eye.
• If you feel the wound has become infected with redness, pain, swelling or pus.
• If it’s been a while (over 5 years) since your last tetanus booster.
Most splinters can be managed easily if you have the right tools. You will be thankful having one of these with you at all times, as you never know when a splinter will happen.