Advice On What Is The Best First Aid For Fishhook Injuries

Fishhook injuries

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Fishing For Fun

Fishing, while fun and relaxing, is, by extension, a dangerous sport with the potential to cause serious injury to self and others. From shiny spinners to triple-barb scented lures, the barbed ends of the fishing hook are exceptionally good at doing what they were designed to do, and they do not discriminate. Flesh is flesh; snagging human flesh is as good as fish flesh upon contact for the fishing hook.

I doubt there is a fisherman alive who managed to get through a fishing trip without feeling the sharp barbs enter the soft flesh of their fingers, sworn, wildly shaken the hand gently pierced and then sent the offending hook on a mission into the vast body of water with extra Oomph! But what happens when the hook becomes embedded in the flesh and how do you go about giving the appropriate First Aid to a fishhook injury?

Fish Hook Injury Placement

For a fish hook in or near the eye:

Protect the eye from further injury by making a ring bandage from the triangle bandage in the First Aid kit. Place the ring bandage over the hook and eye and cover with a crepe bandage or secure in place with tape and get them to an Accident & Emergency room as soon as possible.

Do not attempt to remove anything from or near the eye yourself. The potential to make an easy-fix situation for a qualified medic turn into permanent eye damage or blindness if attempted by a novice is a temptation that must be avoided at all costs.

Fishing hooks are small, barbed triangles at the end designed to grab onto and easily enter and tear flesh. They are intended to be a one-way design and not fall out or remove easily when the fish puts up a fight. Removing a hook the same way it entered will result in the flesh being torn, lacerated, and ripped apart, creating far more carnage and a larger, more painful injury.

For other hook injuries:

  • Seek immediate medical care if a fishhook is embedded in the person’s eye or face.
  • Deeply embedded in the skin and cannot be pushed through.
  • The hook is in a joint, in a bone, or deep in a muscle.
  • You are concerned that removing the fishhook may damage nearby blood vessels or nerves.
  • The person injured is not calm or willing to be assisted.
  • You are afraid to remove the fish hook.
  • You do not have the right tool to cut the barbs off the tips before attempting to remove the hook, where there is First Aid training and knowledge on how to remove a fishing hook correctly.

Preparing The Fish Hook Injury Site For Transport And Treatment

  • Cut any fishing line, fish, bait, or lure from the hook. 
  • Use ice or cold water to numb the area for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • If the barb of the hook has not entered the skin, pull the tip of the hook back out.
  • If the barb is embedded in the skin, try the string-pull method.

 String pull video:

  • If medical help is unavailable and the fishhook is deeply embedded in the skin, try the advance-and-cut method. Push the hook the rest of the way through the skin, snip off the barb with wire cutters, and remove the rest of the fishhook from where it entered the skin. 
  • If medical help is available, have a deeply embedded fish hook removed by a doctor or nurse.

Get A Tetanus Shot: It Is Better To Be Safe Than Sorry

Tetanus is a truly horrific bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani. The bacteria make a toxin in your body that causes the physically crippling disease. Tetanus causes severe muscle spasms, called lockjaw, especially in the neck and jaw. Around 1 in 10 people who contract the tetanus disease will die from it.

To prevent becoming a victim of tetanus, any time the body is pierced with a metal object that has not been sterilised, a prompt visit to your GP or health care provider for a tetanus shot or booster is required. In most cases, the shot might be considered overkill, but the ramifications that arise from contracting tetanus far outweigh the overkill in obtaining a tetanus shot or booster.

Tetanus shots consist of three (3) shots, and then a booster is recommended every ten (10) years thereafter.

Adolescents and adults who have never had a tetanus-containing vaccine are recommended to receive three doses of tetanus-containing vaccine with at least four weeks between doses and booster doses at ten years and 20 years after the primary course. Frequent international travellers are recommended to receive a booster every five years where they travel to countries with high tetanus mortality and low vaccination rates.

First Aid Course Experts

Take a First Aid course for the first time or a refresher to update your skills with a nationally recognised and hyper-specialised RTO. FACE offers a range of options for you to gain your First Aid certification. While visiting our website, check out our Blog page and take the Quiz for a challenge and fun.

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