How to Tell If A Splinter is Infected

A closeup image of a woman removing a splinter from her finger with tweezers.

Most people will have a minor splinter or two in their lifetime.

Splinters can be a common annoyance, especially when they penetrate the skin and cause discomfort. 

While most splinters are harmless and can be easily removed, there is a risk of infection if proper care is not taken promptly. 

The most common type of splinter condition occurs in the hands and can lead to a finger splinter infection, and infected splinters in the foot are a close second. These splinters are treated most often since our hands and feet are exposed to most foreign substances. 

 In this blog post, we will discuss how to tell if a splinter is an infected splinter and provide guidance on treating such infections, whether in the finger, foot, or another area of the body.

Continue reading to learn more about infected splinters.

Is My Splinter Infected?

An infected splinter occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms enter the wound caused by the splinter, leading to an infection. 

The presence of foreign material, such as wood or metal, can increase the risk of infection if it is not identified and removed quickly.

Here’s how you can tell if a splinter is infected:

You’re Experiencing Increased Pain– An infected splinter may be more painful than a regular one. The pain, due to infection, can intensify and is often described as throbbing or sharp, even after the initial discomfort of the splinter has subsided.

Redness and Swelling are Present– Infection often leads to localized redness and swelling around the splinter site. The area may appear inflamed and feel warm to the touch.

Pus or Drainage Occurs– If the splinter becomes infected, you may notice the presence of pus or a yellowish discharge around the splinter site. This is a common sign of infection and should be addressed promptly.

You Experience Increased Sensitivity– An infected splinter may cause increased sensitivity and tenderness around the affected area. The skin may be more sensitive to touch or pressure.

Fever and Systemic Symptoms Are Present– In severe cases, an infected splinter can lead to systemic symptoms, such as fever, chills, and fatigue. If you experience these symptoms along with a splinter, it’s essential to immediately seek medical attention at your local urgent care or emergency room.

How to Treat an Infected Splinter

If you suspect your splinter is infected, taking appropriate steps to treat it is crucial. 

Here are some guidelines to follow on how to treat an infected splinter:

  1. Clean the Area
  2. Soak in Warm Water
  3. Use Sterile Instruments to Remove the Cause of the Splinter
  4. Apply an Antibiotic Ointment After Splinter Removal
  5. Cover the Wound
  6. Monitor for Improvement and Signs of Healing

When to Seek Medical Attention For an Infected Splinter

While many infected splinters can be effectively treated at home, certain situations warrant medical attention. 

Seek medical help if:

  • The redness, swelling, or pain worsens or spreads beyond the splinter site.
  • You develop a fever or experience other unusual symptoms.
  • You cannot remove the splinter yourself or suspect that part of it remains lodged in your skin.
  • The wound shows signs of severe infection, such as excessive pus or spreading red streaks.

Treatment for an Infected Splinter on the Emerald Coast

Identifying and treating an infected splinter is important for preventing complications and promoting healing. 

By recognizing the signs of infection and taking prompt action, you can address the issue effectively. 

If you or a loved one suspect an infected splinter and need help with splinter removal and treatment, our compassionate and experienced urgent care team is here for you.

We are open 7 days a week with no appointments necessary. Walk in today to get the care you need for an infected splinter. 

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