Home remedy for splinters in the finger
Tweezers with bent tips usually help to remove the splinter from the skin. (Image: Lydie stock / fotolia.com)
Tips and tricks for easy removal of splinters in the finger
Fragments in the finger annoy, hurt and can lead to infections. These include a variety of materials: wood and metal splinters, glass, or even thorns of plants such as blackberries, roses or hawthorn. In the following article, we’ll show you which tricks and home remedies can be used to remove a splinter from your finger and what you should look for.
Some activities almost inevitably lead to splinters in the finger in the long run. This is especially true when working with wood. Softwood splits generally stronger than hardwood. Carpenters, carpenters or sawmill workers are constantly coming into contact with wood chips that are produced during sawing and planing. Fine grinding makes them even smaller, sharper and thus harder to remove when they penetrate the skin.
Anyone working with wood at work has a particularly high risk of splintering their finger. (Image: deagreez / fotolia.com)
Even those who handle antique wood furniture will sooner or later incur splinters on the old wood, as well as moving companies. Professionals in these areas therefore usually work with gloves.
Another risk group are gardeners, even hobby gardeners, who often prepare inadequately. On the one hand, small garden thorns and tight clothing get thorns in the skin, when the garden friends remove blackberry branches or cut rose bushes. On the other hand, gardening offers a wide range of splinters in the wood – from rotten boards in garden huts on the splitting of logs for the furnace to the construction of a birdseed house with branches from their own garden or the creation of a raised bed with the remains of the felled pine.
When working with metal, metal chips are produced. While the body attacks iron and wood chips as foreign bodies and these are eliminated by suppurations, this does not apply to splinters made of non-ferrous metal such as aluminum or brass. This should definitely remove a doctor, as they grow in easily and then lead to permanent inflammation and pain.
Remove splinters with home remedies
We usually try to get a splinter out of the skin with a sterilized needle and tweezers, but there are many other methods we can use at home.
The bottle at the fingertip
Is the foreign body close to a fingertip? Then you can fill up a bottle with hot but not boiling water, leaving about 1 cm free. Then press the fingertip with the splitter into the neck of the bottle. Due to the heat of the water, it comes out of the skin.
Patch with salicylic acid
You get salicylic acid in the pharmacy and apply it to a patch. Stick this to the spot where the splinter has penetrated. The acid makes it come closer to the skin surface where you can remove it with needle and forceps.
If the splinter is still visible, you can try to remove it with a strong adhesive tape. Normal Tesafilm is not enough, is suitable for example tesa Extra Power Extreme Outdoor or original Bundeswehr tank tape.
You stick a strip over the affected area, gently press on the splitter, and gently pull it off in the direction from which the splinter got into the skin. If you succeed, it will stick to the tape.
Removing a wood splitter is easier if you bathe the affected area several times in warm water. (Image: fotoduets / fotolia.com)
Is it a wood splinter? Then it swells up in water. Place the affected skin several times a day in a bowl of warm water. Small bits of wood swell so that they come out of the wound. Larger ones show up on the surface and can be removed with tweezers.
Banana and soap
You can crush some banana, apply to the affected area and glue a patch over it to fix it. You leave that on the skin overnight. The next morning, the skin is softened and you can remove the splitter easier. Alternatively, this works well with a bar of soap.
Oil and fat
To make the splitter easier to pull out, rub in the spot with oil or butter. Whether it is olive, sunflower, rapeseed or other oil is indifferent.
Important: Sterile tool
The biggest risk with a splinter in the finger are infections. Therefore, be sure to use sterile needles and forceps to remove it. To sterilize tweezers and needles, it is enough to hold them briefly over a lighter and then wipe them with a clean cloth. It is best to soak the cloth in alcohol.
If you are frightened of needles in your skin or you do not want to suffer the pain of poking around in the wound, you can also fill the appropriate finger of a plastic glove with wet cotton wool, pull it over your finger, and glue the glove to a patch.
Leave the whole thing on your finger overnight. Often, the splinter dissolves from the skin, incidentally, even if he sits under the fingernail.
Possible complications with splinters in the finger
Complications arise on the one hand by pathogens that are on the splinter, on the other hand by the immune response of the body to a foreign body, which can lead to inflammation. If you do not remove the small piece, the body’s defenses get going.
They attack bacteria that are on the splinter and repel the foreign body. It forms a pyrex. It breaks after a while, and the pus and the splinter come out of the wound. But if it is deep or very large, chronic inflammation develops.
The immune system fails to repel him, the pyrex increases, the spot turns red, hot and swells. At the latest, when the spot reddens, the pain is pounding and the skin warms, you should see a doctor who removes the foreign body. In the worst case, there is blood poisoning and it can be fatal.
Tweezers with bent tips usually help to remove the splinter from the skin. (Image: Lydie stock / fotolia.com)
Remove splinters with the tweezers
The most common way to remove a splinter from the finger is to pull it out with tweezers. The end should be neither too wide nor too narrow, at the extreme end tapered tweezers to pluck eyelashes are unsuitable. Less recommended are tweezers with a strong spring pull, with which we pluck hairs, because when pulling out the foreign body, we should control with intuition exactly how much pressure we exert.
The tweezers applied to fix and pluck damage lightly on splinters because they quickly break off parts of them and make the rest more difficult to remove.
Anatomical tweezers with a pen, however, are excellent. So-called Pimple Removers with curved needles at the end are the right tool to remove very small fragments.
The deluxe version is precision tweezers with built-in LED light that illuminate the foreign body that has invaded the skin. However, before you buy such a high-tech tweezers for about 20 € for a splinter in the skin, you should consider whether it makes no sense to go straight to the doctor.
Before you use the tweezers, sterilize the tool and also wash your hands, and those of the person affected, if you treat someone else. Then dry the skin with a clean towel, not the wound.
It is best to magnify the view of the affected area with a magnifying glass. Now pull out the splitter.
If this is not easy to remove, first put your finger in warm soapy water. Then release the skin with a small nail and pull out the foreign body with the tweezers as soon as parts of it protrude from the wound.
If a splinter in the finger is not treated properly, threatened in an emergency, a blood poisoning. (Image: uwimages / fotolia.com)
Splinter in the finger: When to the doctor?
Small slivers are often easy to remove. Larger pieces in the skin, such as broken glass, rusty nails, fishhooks or stone chips (Quartz etc.) require a doctor. Drive to the emergency room. Keep your fingers away! You would probably aggravate the injury by tweezers and needles. Broken glass could break and push deeper into the skin, with dirty metal parts you are likely to spread harmful substances within the wound, thus promoting infection.
The dermatologist Klaus Fritz from Landau advises: “Some fragments, such as metal or stone, can be smashed in practice using a laser.”
In any case, you should show the sites where larger foreign bodies are located to a dermatologist who will discuss the procedure with them.
The biggest danger with a sliver in the finger that you do not treat properly is a sepsis. After all, it is the third leading cause of death in Germany. In this case, an elephant actually turns into a mosquito, a minor injury widens into a deadly poisoning.
Doctors warn that blood poisoning is even more often caused by neglected minor injuries: abrasions, cuts with the kitchen knife into the skin or by the ingress of splinters. You should not panic but pay attention to wound hygiene. The main pathogens of blood poisoning, staphylococci, invade the tissues if and because a wound is not disinfected.
Fever and shortness of breath
If you have pulled a splinter in the finger and as a result fever, shivering, under temperature or shortness of breath occurs, go immediately to the family doctor. If a sepsis is suspected, he will send you to the hospital. There you will get a broad spectrum antibiotic that kills most potential pathogens before the exact trigger is determined. If left untreated, blood poisoning can lead to circulatory collapse and septic shock. The organs fail and you die.
A splinter in the skin does not generally lead to a blood poisoning, but this arises because pathogens penetrate into the tissue and the blood. This can happen over any open wound. It only comes to sepsis when you open the wound, that is, the place through which the foreign body penetrated – with needle and forceps, or by excessive scratching. Therefore, you should always pay attention to wound hygiene, disinfect the wound, sterilize the tools and wash your hands.
If the splinter is removed, the wound must be disinfected. (Image: bmf-foto.de/fotolia.com)
A local redness and swelling around the affected area shows only the defense reaction of the body and no blood poisoning. As long as the spot does not continue to ignite, it is not a sign of poisoning, but the attempt of the body to heal the wound.
If you have a large splinter in a heavily soiled wound, you should go to the doctor. Even with smaller splinters such as rose thorns you should preventively cover the injuries with a disinfecting iodine ointment.
However, if blood poisoning has already broken out, there is a risk to his life. It is a medical emergency and must be treated promptly. Forget natural remedies like green tea for sepsis. The bacteria that cause the inflammatory response must be treated immediately with an antibiotic.
Persons at risk
Blood poisoning caused by pathogens that enter the body through minor injuries, such as small foreign bodies, is a particular threat to people with weak immune systems, be it age, HIV, autoimmune diseases or diabetes. These should be used with a splinter in the finger special care, when traveling, craft or gardening always have a disinfecting iodine ointment and better than too late to see a doctor. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
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