Splinter injuries are common, but larger and deeper splinters are often difficult and painful to remove at home.  Wood, glass, and metallic splinters are among the most common retained foreign bodies.  Most superficial splinters may be removed by the patients themselves.  On occasion, the person may need to see a doctor for the deeper and larger splinters, or splinters that have broken down during an attempt at removal.  If not removed completely, splinters may cause complications such as inflammation, infection, and toxic reactions.  The chances of a splinter becoming infected depends on what the splinter is: organic material – like animal spines or plant thorns – are more likely to cause infection or toxic reactions.

Signs of infection

The person feels pain, and has a sense that a foreign body is embedded in the skin. Often, the individual can see the splinter  under the skin. The person may have only a small flow of blood or no bleeding at all.  Infection is usually accompanied by discharge (pus), increased pain, redness, swelling, or red streaking. This could be a sign that the splinter has not been fully removed. All foreign bodies contain large amounts of germs. Even with complete removal and cleansing, infection may still develop because the protective skin barrier was broken.

If you are experiencing any of the signs above, visit Coastal Urgent Care Houma.