Splinter Removal

A splinter has been removed from under your skin. Care was taken to remove all pieces present. But there is a chance that a small piece may have been left behind.

Very small particles that remain under the skin often cause no problem and need no further treatment unless an infection develops.

You may get a tetanus shot (injection) if needed. You may be given antibiotics to prevent or treat infection based on many factors. These include location of injury, severity of injury, time since injury, if you're at risk for infections due to an underlying condition, and other concerns.

Home care

These guidelines will help you care for your wound at home:

  • Keep the injured part raised (elevated) during the first 2 days. This helps reduce swelling and pain.

  • Keep the wound clean and dry. If a bandage was applied and it becomes wet or dirty, replace it. Otherwise, leave it in place for the first 24 hours. Then clean the wound daily:

    • After removing the bandage, wash the area with soap and water. Use a wet cotton swab to loosen and remove any blood or crust that forms.

    • After cleaning, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment. Put on a fresh bandage.

  • Unless told otherwise, you may shower as normal. But don't soak the area in water for at least 1 week. This means no baths or swimming.

  • You may use over-the-counter medicine for pain, unless another pain medicine was given. Talk with your healthcare provider before using acetaminophen or ibuprofen if you have chronic liver or kidney disease. Also talk with your provider if you've ever had a stomach ulcer or digestive tract bleeding.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. Most skin wounds heal within 10 days. But there's a risk of infection if there are any particles that are still under the skin. So check the wound in 2 days for the signs of infection listed below. Any stitches should be removed by a healthcare provider in 7 to 14 days. If surgical tape closures were used, remove them yourself if they haven't fallen off after 7 days.

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Increasing pain in the wound

  • Redness, swelling, or pus coming from the wound

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as advised by your provider

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