When you hear the words, splinters and embedded objects, most people shudder as they recall their last encounter with the spear-like barb of pain. However, splinters come in more forms than wooden spikes, and embedded objects are different again, requiring their own form of First Aid Treatment.
Defining A Splinter
Splinters take the form of a small, thin, sharp piece of wood, glass, metal, or similar material broken off from a larger piece. We can then branch out and add barbs and spikes in the form of fishing hooks and cacti needles.
We can also include the bees’ stingers as the hook is designed to remain embedded in the skin and deliver the poison after the bee has flown away to die. Lastly, we need to add nettles, the ultra-fine, almost impossible to see but painfully felt plant defence systems.
Splinters should be removed as quickly as possible to prevent infection and pain.
Splinter Removal Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Baqjq6KTv04
Defining Embedded Objects
Embedded objects are an escalation from the easily treated splinter you can remove at home.
Embedded objects are items created outside of the body that become embedded inside the body, usually via a violent force either from an explosion such as shrapnel, a knife protruding after a stabbing, or someone encountering a glass pane that shatters and embeds into their body as they fall through a window.
Embedded objects should never be removed from the body by the First Aid responder!
In all cases where the item is lodged inside the body, ensure that your First Aid treatment secures the protruding and embedded object in place, control the bleeding, and get them emergency help via calling 000 for an ambulance or getting them to a hospital ASAP!
Lives that could have been saved were lost by well-intended people removing knives or shards of glass from a body, creating unnecessary further damage with the extraction that speeds up the unfortunate demise of the victim. Had the items been left in place, surgeons could have saved their lives. It is important that a First Aid responder knows what the correct First Aid procedure is when they treat any situation or emergency.
Embedded Objects Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jqN1doQLtE
First Aid For Splinters
The First aid treatment you use to remove a splinter will vary depending on the depth and location of the splinter. If the splinter is close to the surface and enough is protruding out that you can grasp it with tweezers, place the tweezers as close to the skin as possible, firmly hold the splinter tail and begin to draw it out in a straight line at the same angle it went into the skin.
You can gently squeeze the area around the wound to encourage slight bleeding, as this will add lubrication and help remove any dirt, debris, or germs the splinter carried into the skin.
Once the splinter has been removed, clean the area with a topical antiseptic in the form of an alcohol wipe, betadine, or any antiseptic cream or spray. Cover the wound site with a dressing for 24 hours to ensure the antibacterial agent can effectively deep clean the wound, and your body can repair the damage the splinter caused, sealing the wound entry site closed.
For ultra-fine nettles, you can use any adhesive tape and lay it over the area, press firmly and rip off the adhesive, ensuring the removal of the nettle problem.
Warm candle wax can also be used but with extreme caution to prevent obtaining a burn injury to complicate the situation. Allow the wax to set firmly and then remove. The object should come away with the wax and be easily disposed of in the bin.
Do Splinters Naturally Extricate Themselves
In most cases, the answer is yes, but not all cases.
The body will slowly work the splinter to the surface with the normal shedding of the skin layers over time. For deeper fragments, the body’s immune system will treat it as a foreign object and form a puss-filled pimple that forces its way to the surface while you have the urge to squeeze and burst the pimple freeing the splinter. However, not all shards should be left to do their thing as infection can set in, causing cellulitis.
Cellulitis may spread rapidly. Affected skin appears swollen and red and may be hot and tender to the touch. Without treatment with an antibiotic, cellulitis can be life-threatening and, left untreated, can result in fatality.
How Do You Bring A Splinter To The Surface
If a splinter is especially deep or doesn’t leave a tail to remove easily. You can purchase a tub of Magnoplasm from a chemist, or you can make a paste with baking soda and water and apply it to the affected area. Cover the area with a sterile dressing and wait about a day. The paste should draw the splinter closer to the surface, giving you a tail to pull or gently squeeze it free.
You can purchase a reusable splinter removal tool and keep it in your First Aid kit or buy disposable splinter tubes from your local chemist and keep them on hand for emergencies. A sterile sewing needle or the tip of a sterilised pin also works the same way in a pinch.
How Does Magnoplasm Remove Splinters
Magnoplasm and related commercial products work by drawing the infected pus and embedded object to the skin’s surface. The skin then ruptures, allowing the puss and the object to exit the body. The body will repair the cavity left behind after it has been cleaned with an antiseptic to prevent and kill any infection present inside the wound site.
Magnoplasm is also useful in your First Aid kit and is ideal for the initial treatment of boils, carbuncles, and whitlows. Magnoplasm Paste is a drawing paste containing glycerol and dried magnesium sulphate. Magnoplasm helps draw out splinters, thorns and ooze using the process of osmosis which is the technical term for drawing moisture to the skin surface.
Think of the paste as acting like a microscopic vacuum sucking everything under it to the surface.
When To Seek Medical Assistance
There will always be occasions when the splinter is too large or deep to extract at home. This will necessitate a trip to your local doctor, who will assess the situation. They may be able to give a local anaesthetic and, using a scalpel, remove the object, suturing the site closed after sterilising the area and dressing it for protection.
Objects embedded in the body, like shrapnel from an explosion, will require hospitalisation and surgical treatment. However, the initial First Aid responder will always apply basic First Aid protocols. If you do not know what a First Aid responder is or how to offer First Aid to anyone in a medical emergency, then it is high time you stopped procrastinating and enrolled yourself on an accredited FACE First Aid course near you!