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Save the Summer, Remove a Splinter

remove a splinter

A rickety fishing pier; the well-worn handle of a baseball bat; redecorating the treehouse wall.

Summer is the season for random, wooden shards and the kids who inadvertently attract them. One thing is certain – if you’ve cared for a child long enough, eventually you will receive the call to remove a splinter.

Are you ready for it?

It’s important to keep in mind that splinters are not necessarily relegated to wooden shavings, but a multitude of foreign bodies that can become lodged in the skin. Splinters typically fall into the following categories.

Organic:

  • Wood splinters
  • Cactus spines
  • Thorns
  • Toothpicks

Metallic or other:

  • Glass slivers
  • Fiberglass
  • BBs
  • Nails
  • Sewing needles
  • Push pins
  • Tacks

While splinters typically are not life threatening, for the child experiencing a sudden influx of pain they can seem less like specks, and more like a jagged piece of steel. So tread lightly (and reassuringly) when taking out those tweezers.

Follow these simple steps to carefully and cautiously remove a splinter at home:

  • Thoroughly wash the affected area with soap and water.
  • Sterilize tweezers using boiling water and an alcohol swab.
  • If the splinter is protruding from the skin, firmly grasp its base with the tweezers and pull out at the same angle that it entered.
  • If the splinter cannot be easily gripped, gently scrape or remove the skin above the splinter with a sterilized needle until you can grasp and remove.
  • Wash the area once again and treat with antibiotic ointment and bandage

If the splinter is miniscule, such as a nettle thorn, you can try at-home remedies such as a piece of tape or by placing a small amount of white glue on top of the site, allowing it to dry, and gently peeling the foreign body away from the skin.

If the site of the splinter becomes red, swollen, or oozes, or if the splinter is deeply embedded, causing severe pain or fever, is curved or barbed (i.e. a fish hook), or if the foreign body is a BB, seek medical attention from a pediatric provider as soon as possible.

When summer fun goes awry, KinderMender can help with difficult splinters, scrapes, and bruises. Our three convenient locations are open daily, and our Timonium location is currently preparing for a grand opening. Call us today at (443) 492-4000.

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