MAR 30, 2017 2:44 PM PDT

How Your Immune System Reacts to a Splinter

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Some people may say that a paper cut is one of the most painful small injuries. And people who've experienced pain from a splinter may contest this. A paper cut will eventually heal itself, but what happens when you don't (or can't) remove the splinter?

A splinter is any small fragment of a larger object that gets embedded under the skin surface. This can refer to fragments of wood, glass, metal, or even plastic. However, it's the wooden splinters that will cause the most damage if you don't take it out.

Because it's organic matter with natural oils, resins, and likely to contain more microorganisms, wood splinters are a ripe source for inflammation. Ignoring the wooden splinter in your body can lead bacterial infections, such as tetanus. So, even if you can overlook the pain from a splinter, do yourself a big favor and have it removed ASAP to avoid future complications.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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