How to Handle a Wood Splinter and When to Call the Doctor


Everyone has been there. You or your child had just touched the old wooden bench when a little splinter of wood slipped into the skin, inflicting a shocking amount of discomfort. Splinters, fortunately, are simple to remove with the right equipment and expertise. 

Dermatologists recommend the following methods for removing a splinter:

1. Wash and Dry the Area

The first step is to clean the area around the splinter. This will help you get a better look at the foreign object and also reduce your risk of infection. Gently wash the area with soap and water, then dry it off with a clean towel.

2. Inspect the Splinter

Take a close look at the splinter to see how deep it is embedded in your skin. If it is just surface level, you should be able to remove it with your fingers or tweezers. However, if it appears to be buried underneath the skin, you will need to take extra care.

3. Use Tweezers for Obvious Splinters

If the splinter is visible and not buried too deep, you can try to remove it with a pair of sterilized tweezers. Grasp the splinter as close to the skin as possible and pull gently in one smooth motion. If this does not work, or if you are unable to remove the

4. Use a Small Sterile Needle for Embedded Splinters

If the splinter is buried under the skin, you will need to use a small needle to expose it. First, sterilize the needle with rubbing alcohol, then carefully puncture the skin over the splinter. Once you have broken through the surface, you should be able to see and remove the splinter with tweezers.

5. Sanitize Area and Apply Petroleum Jelly

Once the splinter has been removed, clean the area again with soap and water. You may also want to apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to help keep the area moist and prevent scarring. If you are concerned about infection, you can also apply an antibiotic ointment before bandaging the wound.

When to Consult a Doctor

Most splinters can be removed at home without any problems. However, there are some situations when you should seek medical attention:

  • The splinter is barbed or very deeply embedded
  • You are unable to remove the splinter after multiple attempts
  • The area around the splinter is red, swollen, or painful
  • You notice signs of infection, such as pus or redness

If you are unsure about how to remove a splinter or if the splinter is causing severe pain, it is always best to consult your doctor or dermatologist. They will be able to safely and effectively remove the splinter without further injuring your skin.


Splinters are a common nuisance that can be painful and difficult to remove. However, with the proper tools and technique, most splinters can be taken care of at home. If you are unsure about how to remove a splinter or if the splinter is causing severe pain, it is always best to consult your doctor or dermatologist.

If you’re looking for pediatric care doctors in NJ, Agile Urgent Care is the place for you! Our urgent care specialists will ensure that your child will get immediate medical attention should they need it to ease your worries. Reach out today to schedule a consultation!

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