Foreign object in the skin

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First aid: Foreign object in the skin

If a foreign object is projecting from the skin:

  • Wash your hands and clean the area well with soap and water.
  • Use tweezers to remove splinters of wood or fiberglass, small pieces of glass, or other foreign objects. A magnifying glass may help you see the object better.
  • Squeeze the wound gently to allow bleeding to wash out germs.
  • Wash the area again and pat dry. Apply antibiotic ointment.

If the object is completely embedded in your skin:

  • Wash your hands and clean the area well with soap and water.
  • Sterilize a clean, sharp needle by wiping it with rubbing alcohol. If rubbing alcohol isn't available, clean the needle with soap and water.
  • Use the needle to break the skin over the object and gently lift the tip of the object out. A magnifying glass may help you see the object better.
  • Use tweezers to remove the object.
  • Squeeze the wound gently to allow bleeding to wash out germs.
  • Wash the area again and pat dry. Apply antibiotic ointment.

Seek medical help if:

  • The particle doesn't come out easily.
  • The particle is close to an eye.

Check your immunization record to be sure you're current on your tetanus shot (within 10 years unless the wound is deep or dirty). The immunization may be listed as Td, DTaP or Tdap.

Last Updated: 2011-12-10
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