Health

How do I remove a splinter from my finger?

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Band-aid on finger
Position a Band-aid over the offending fragment
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If you know how to remove a splinter from your finger it won't hurt at all

There's nothing to bring out the child in us like getting a splinter—it hurts, it hurts, don't touch it! Yet we know that removing it is important. They can be tiny but can also cause further pain and infection so our inner adult has to take over.


Handy tools for the job


Three pieces of equipment will help: a pair of thin-point tweezers, a threaded needle and an antiseptic cleaner like isopropyl alcohol. Before you get into the situation of having to remove one, it helps if you have already purchased a pair of tweezers that you reserve strictly for removing splinters. Keep them in your medicine cabinet or other safe place, wrapped in a paper towel or small plastic bag, so that you do not have to spend time cleaning the tweezers when you need to use them.


For those of us whose first reaction to an emergency is to search for our glasses, tweezers can be found with a small magnifier attached, making it much easier to see the small but painful problem.


I've got those things. What now?

 

Place both your tweezers and the needle in a small amount of antiseptic cleaner, whether they have been kept in a bag or not. Wash your hands very thoroughly with warm water and soap. Handwashing, like cleaning the tweezers and needle, is your first insurance against infecting the site of your splinter. Once in a while the warm water, which expands pores, and the bubbly soap are enough to ease it loose.


If you have not succeeded in washing it away, try removing it with the tweezers. Work the tweezer points at the angle of the fragment so that you are less likely to remove only part of it or push it further into your finger. Sometimes you will determine that the splinter has worked its way under a layer of skin, making it very hard to grasp.




 

If the splinter is stubborn, try this next

 

If that is the case, remind yourself that the nerves in your finger lie under several layers of skin, not just one. Take the needle out of the antiseptic. These instructions specify a threaded needle—brightly colored thread is the best, especially if you are right-handed and trying to remove a splinter from your right hand with your left. Just in case you penetrate those layers of skin enough to hurt, there is a danger of dropping your needle, and a brightly-colored thread makes the dropped needle easier to find. Hold the needle fairly flat and close to your finger, try to lift the top layer of skin with the needle. Do not dig hard, even if you can tolerate the pain; digging with the needle will most likely push the splinter further in.


The Band-aid trick

 

If the needle-tweezer combination does not remove the splinter, try one more strategy before you seek other help. Put a Band-aid over the particle. Rather than centering the protective pad over the site, make sure that the site is covered with the adhesive instead. Leave on all day or overnight. The adhesive will produce a clean but warm area of skin around the splinter. The accumulation of skin moisture and unventilated warmth often softens skin sufficiently to expel it, partly so you can grasp it with tweezers or sometimes completely, so that the offending fragment comes out of your finger stuck to the adhesive tape.


How do I remove a splinter from my finger? Just like that. And if tweezers, needle, and tape don't do the job, I know it's time to get help to prevent infection. Sometimes I will give in to a second 12-hour trial of the adhesive tape technique, but after that it's time to get help.


Once you locate a sympathetic adult to help,  remember to clean the tweezers and needle again. After that, you'll have to referee the fight between your inner child and your inner adult on your own. Hang in there, it's only going to be one more minute—there we are. That wasn't so bad, was it?


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