Abdominal Pain - Female
Abdominal Pain - Male
Acne
Animal or Human Bite
Antibiotics: When Do They Help
Arm Injury
Arm Pain
Asthma Attack
Athlete's Foot
Back Pain
Bed Bug Bite
Bee or Yellow Jacket Sting
Blisters
Bottle-Feeding Formula Questions
Breast-Feeding Questions
Bruise
Burn
Chest Pain
Chickenpox
Circumcision Problems
Colds
Constipation
Cough
Coughs: Meds or Home Remedies
Cracked or Dry Skin
Cradle Cap
Croup
Crying Baby - Before 3 Months Old
Crying Child - 3 Months and Older
Cut, Scrape, or Bruise
Diaper Rash
Diarrhea
Diarrhea Diseases From Travel
Dizziness
Drinking Fluids - Decreased
Dry Skin
Ear - Congestion
Ear - Discharge
Ear - Injury
Ear - Pulling At or Rubbing
Ear - Swimmer's
Ear Infection Questions
Earache
Earwax Buildup
Ebola Exposure
Eczema
Emergency Symptoms Not to Miss
Eye - Allergy
Eye - Foreign Body or Object
Eye - Injury
Eye - Pus or Discharge
Eye - Red Without Pus
Eye - Swelling
Fever
Fever - How to Take the Temperature
Fever - Myths Versus Facts
Fifth Disease
Finger Injury
Fire Ant Sting
Flu
Fluid Intake Decreased
Food Allergy
Foreskin Care Questions
Frostbite
Genital Injury - Female
Genital Injury - Male
Hair Loss
Hand-Foot-And-Mouth Disease HFMD
Hay Fever
Head Injury
Headache
Heat Exposure and Reactions
Heat Rash
Hives
Human or Animal Bite
Immunization Reactions
Impetigo - Infected Sores
Infection Exposure Questions
Influenza - Seasonal
Influenza Exposure
Insect Bite
Jaundiced Newborn
Jellyfish Sting
Leg Injury
Leg Pain
Lice - Head
Lymph Nodes - Swollen
Medication - Refusal to Take
Mental Health Problems
Molluscum
Mosquito Bite
Mosquito-Borne Diseases from Travel
Motion Sickness
Mouth Injury
Mouth Ulcers
Neck Pain or Stiffness
Newborn Appearance Questions
Newborn Illness - How to Recognize
Newborn Rashes and Birthmarks
Newborn Reflexes and Behavior
Nose Allergy Hay Fever
Nose Injury
Nosebleed
Penis-Scrotum Symptoms
Pinworms
Poison Ivy - Oak - Sumac
Puncture Wound
Rash or Redness - Localized
Rash or Redness - Widespread
Reflux Spitting Up
Ringworm
Roseola
Scabies
Scrape
Sinus Pain or Congestion
Skin Foreign Body or Object
Skin Injury
Skin Lump
Sliver or Splinter
Sore Throat
Spider Bite
Spitting Up - Reflux
Stomach Pain - Female
Stomach Pain - Male
Stools - Blood In
Stools - Unusual Color
Strep Throat Exposure
Strep Throat Infection
Sty
Sunburn
Suture Questions
Swallowed Foreign Body or Object
Swallowed Harmless Substance
Swimmer's Itch - Lakes and Oceans
Tear Duct - Blocked
Teething
Thrush
Tick Bite
Toe Injury
Toenail - Ingrown
Tooth Injury
Toothache
Umbilical Cord Symptoms
Urinary Tract Infection - Female
Urination Pain - Female
Urination Pain - Male
Vaginal Symptoms
Vomiting With Diarrhea
Vomiting Without Diarrhea
Warts
Wheezing Other Than Asthma
Wound Infection

Resources

Is Your Child Sick?TM


Skin Foreign Body or Object

Is this your child's symptom?

  • A foreign body is an object stuck in the skin
  • Some examples are a wood splinter, fishhook, glass sliver or needle

Symptoms of a Foreign Body (Object) in the Skin

  • Pain. Most tiny slivers in the top layer of skin do not cause much pain. An example of these tiny slivers is plant stickers. Objects that are deeper or go straight down are usually painful to pressure. Objects in the foot are very painful with standing or walking.
  • Foreign Body Sensation. Older children may complain about something being in the skin. ("I feel something in there.")

Types of Foreign Bodies (Objects)

  • Wood (Organic): Splinters, cactus spines, thorns, toothpicks. These objects are irritating and become infected if not removed.
  • Metallic: BBs, nails, sewing needles, pins, tacks
  • Fiberglass slivers
  • Fishhooks may have a barbed point that makes removal difficult
  • Glass sliver
  • Pencil lead (graphite, not lead)
  • Plastic sliver

When to Call for Skin Foreign Body or Object

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Object has a barb (such as a fish hook)
  • Object is a BB
  • Object is causing severe pain
  • You want a doctor to take out the object
  • You tried and can't get the object out
  • Wound looks infected (spreading redness)
  • Fever occurs
  • You think your child has a serious injury
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Deep puncture wound and last tetanus shot was more than 5 years ago
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Tiny pain-free slivers near the surface that don't need to be removed
  • Tiny plant or cactus spines or fiberglass slivers that need to be removed
  • Minor sliver, splinter or thorn that needs removal. You think you can do it at home.

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Object has a barb (such as a fish hook)
  • Object is a BB
  • Object is causing severe pain
  • You want a doctor to take out the object
  • You tried and can't get the object out
  • Wound looks infected (spreading redness)
  • Fever occurs
  • You think your child has a serious injury
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Deep puncture wound and last tetanus shot was more than 5 years ago
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Tiny pain-free slivers near the surface that don't need to be removed
  • Tiny plant or cactus spines or fiberglass slivers that need to be removed
  • Minor sliver, splinter or thorn that needs removal. You think you can do it at home.

Care Advice for Minor Slivers and Splinters

  1. Tiny, Pain-Free Slivers - Treatment:
    • Tiny, pain-free slivers near the skin surface can be left in.
    • They will slowly work their way out with normal shedding of the skin.
    • Sometimes, the body also will reject them by forming a little pimple. This will drain on its own. Or you can open up the pimple. Use a clean needle. The sliver will flow out with the pus.
  2. Tiny Painful Plant Stickers - Treatment:
    • Plant stickers or cactus spines are hard to remove. Fiberglass slivers may also be hard to get out. Reason: They are fragile. Most often, they break when pressure is applied with a tweezers.
    • Tape. First, try touching the spot lightly with tape. The stickers should attach to the tape. You can use packaging tape, duct tape or another very sticky tape.
    • Wax Hair Remover. If tape doesn't work, use wax hair remover. Put a thin layer on. Let it air dry for 5 minutes. You can also speed up the process with a hair dryer. Then peel it off with the stickers. Most will be removed. The others will usually work themselves out with normal shedding of the skin.
  3. Needle and Tweezers for Slivers and Splinters:
    • For larger splinters, slivers or thorns, remove with a needle and tweezers.
    • Check the tweezers first. Be certain the ends (pickups) meet exactly. If they do not, bend them. Clean the tool with rubbing alcohol before using them.
    • Clean the skin around the sliver briefly with rubbing alcohol. Do this before trying to remove it. If you don't have any, use soap and water. Caution: Don't soak the spot if the foreign body is wood. Reason: Can cause swelling of the splinter.
    • Use the needle to uncover the large end of the sliver. Use good lighting. A magnifying glass may help.
    • Grasp the end firmly with the tweezers. Pull it out at the same angle that it went in. Get a good grip the first time. This is important for slivers that go straight into the skin. This is also important for those trapped under the fingernail.
    • For slivers under a fingernail, sometimes part of the nail must be cut away. Use a fine scissors to expose the end of the sliver.
    • Slivers (where you can see all of it) often can be removed at home. Pull on the end. If the end breaks off, open the skin with a sterile needle. Go along the length of the sliver and flick it out.
  4. Antibiotic Ointment:
    • Wash the area with soap and water before and after removal.
    • Use an antibiotic ointment (such as Polysporin) once after sliver is taken out. No prescription is needed. This will help to decrease the risk of infection.
  5. Call Your Doctor If:
    • You can't get the object out
    • Object is out, but pain gets worse
    • Starts to look infected
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Copyright 1994-2017 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC. All rights reserved.

First Aid - Removing a Splinter

You can remove splinters, larger slivers, and thorns with a needle and tweezers. Check the tweezers beforehand to be certain the ends (pickups) meet exactly. (If they do not, bend them.) Sterilize the tools with rubbing alcohol or a flame.

Clean the skin surrounding the sliver briefly with rubbing alcohol before trying to remove it. Be careful not to push the splinter in deeper. If you don't have rubbing alcohol, use soap and water, but don't soak the area if FB is wood (Reason: can cause swelling of the splinter).

Remove the splinter:

  • Step 1: Use the needle to completely expose the large end of the sliver. Use good lighting. A magnifying glass may help.
  • Step 2: Then grasp the end firmly with the tweezers and pull it out at the same angle that it went in. Getting a good grip the first time is especially important with slivers that go in perpendicular to the skin or those trapped under the fingernail.

Select from over 100 symptoms to learn about managing your child's illness.