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First Aid for Foreign Object in the Skin

Last updated March 5, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Foreign Object in the Skin is the presence of a foreign body / object in a person’s skin.


What is Foreign Object in the Skin?

  • It is the presence of a foreign body/object, such as a splinter, in the skin of an individual. It may be mild or severe depending on the underlying cause of the condition
  • Foreign Object in the Skin may occur due to trauma that is the result of fall injuries or sharp penetrating wounds

What are the Causes of Foreign Object in the Skin?

The causal factors of Foreign Object in the Skin include:

  • Debris
  • Glass
  • Small sharp objects

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Foreign Object in the Skin?

The signs and symptoms of Foreign Object in the Skin include:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Irritation
  • Swelling

How is First Aid administered for Foreign Object in the Skin?

First Aid tips for Foreign Object in the Skin include:

  • Clean the area well, with soap and water after washing your hands
  • Gently squeeze the area around the foreign body, if it is visible above the skin
  • This might make the object pop out, and also to cause some bleeding (which has a disinfecting role)
  • Remove the object using a pair of tweezers

If the object is embedded in the skin:

  • Use a sterilized needle to break the skin over the object and try and lift the tip of the foreign body, with the sterile needle.
  • Use tweezers to then remove the object
  • Clean the area with soap and water, and let it dry
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment

Seek medical help if:

  • The object cannot be removed
  • There are any signs of infection
  • The object is close to sensitive parts, such as the eye 

Who should administer First Aid for Foreign Object in the Skin?

First Aid can be administered by the person themselves, or by someone nearby.

What is the Prognosis of Foreign Object in the Skin?

The prognosis for Foreign Object in the Skin is usually good. 

How can Foreign Object in the Skin be Prevented?

A few helpful tips to prevent Foreign Objects in the Skin:

  • Use appropriate protective wear during biking, skating, and while performing outdoor activities
  • Wear proper protective footwear
  • Exercise caution while handling sharp objects

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Wash hands with soap and water
  • Clean the area of insertion in skin, and its surrounding areas
  • Attempt to remove the object under sterile conditions only. One may use alcohol to sterilize needle or tweezers
  • Discuss with your physician regarding tetanus prophylaxis

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Oct. 15, 2013
Last updated: March 5, 2018