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Pictures of infected splinters: Splinter, First Aid Condition, Treatments and Pictures for

Splinters and Other Foreign Bodies in the Hand

If you or your doctor cannot confirm the location of a foreign body in your hand, medical technology is another method of finding a foreign body. X-rays are often the first test ordered. Some types of metal that can be seen on x-ray include copper, iron, aluminum, steel, or tin. Materials such as teeth, tooth fragments, and some fish spines include calcium and can be visible on x-rays. Also, most gravel, plastics, coral spicules, and some types of glass may be visible on x-rays. Keep in mind that though x-rays can show some materials, they don’t show all objects, so a normal x-ray does not mean you are in the clear.

Other tests can be ordered if x-rays do not clearly show a foreign body. Performed by an experienced technician, an ultrasound is a very effective, low-cost, and comfortable test that bounces sound waves off the foreign body to create a brighter area on the screen. Wood, thorns, and other materials can be detected with ultrasound. Ultrasound can demonstrate if you are dealing with one or multiple foreign bodies, and this test can also determine their size, shape, location, direction, and depth. Ultrasound can also detect changes in the surrounding soft tissues and whether fluid is present to suggest an abscess.

Computerized tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also show foreign bodies. If the foreign body is deeper or near a bone, a CT may be required. CTs and MRIs are more expensive and may be considered based on the injury location and other patient-specific characteristics.

Many factors determine the treatment of foreign bodies. These include the kind of foreign material, the location, the patient’s symptoms, and the likelihood of infection.

Foreign bodies from plants, bite wounds, and marine creatures are more likely to cause reactions or infections. Bite wounds involve the crushing of tissue and other injury. This lowers the body’s ability to fight bacteria from the wound. Spines and spicules from marine animals can carry poisonous material. Some infections are caused by bacteria, which divide quickly and cause more severe symptoms early. Fungal and atypical mycobacterial infections often are slower-growing organisms, so those might not cause symptoms for weeks or months. These types of infections are much harder to grow in a laboratory to identify the cause of infection, and they are also harder to cure and may require medication for weeks or months, including one or more surgeries.

Wood slivers and thorns may cause inflammation, which makes the area swollen, red, warm, and painful. These symptoms mimic infection, so it can be difficult to separate inflammation from infection. Glass, metal, and plastic are synthetic products, not biologic structures, so they are less likely to cause inflammation and/or infection.

The location of the foreign body can dictate the need for removal. If it is deep, without symptoms, and non-reactive, no invasive treatment may be needed. It may only be followed with occasional office exams to monitor for developing problems. Examples are small pieces of metal or glass. Those close to the skin, tendons, nerves, or joints may be more painful with light pressure and will require removal. This could be due to symptoms or concern about further injury. Sharp glass and metal foreign bodies have caused injuries to vital structures.

Pain or suspected infection are the most common reasons for foreign body removal. Most foreign bodies that cause symptoms do not go away without a procedure. It is rare for the body to be able to break down the foreign body and get rid of it.

During a foreign body removal, the doctor may swab the wound to obtain a specimen and then send it to the lab to determine if an infection is present. Sometimes, the presence of an infection is obvious, and other times, it can be hard to tell just by looking at the wound. When infection is suspected, the doctor may prescribe the patient one or two antibiotics to start based on common organisms in your geographic location. If the wound culture grows bacteria in the lab, this can make picking an effective antibiotic easier.

Bacteria from human, dog, or cat bites often require different antibiotics than a thorn puncture. Microorganisms from marine animals are also very different from land animals. Deeper fluid collections or abscesses need surgical drainage and antibiotics. Infected joints, tendons, and bones require more involved surgeries and sometimes intravenous antibiotics for several weeks. Infected joints are opened and cleansed. Infected tendons and bones require the removal of very infected tissue, as well as pills or intravenous antibiotic medication.

Nerve injuries require exploration and repair because they do not usually heal without surgery. However, when nerve fibers are cut, residual numbness or weakness can be expected, even if the nerve could be repaired. Partial tendon tears can heal without surgery but may develop scarring that can limit motion. Sometimes, therapy alone can improve motion. Other times, a surgery called a tenolysis may be worth trying. Many completely severed tendons have an immediate loss of motion. Early wound exploration can help determine if there is an infection. If no infection is suspected, an early tendon repair can be performed. If an infection is present or suspected, the tendon repair would need to be delayed. When the infection is cured, a late repair can be performed.

Finally, after a puncture wound, a lump can form. This may take months or years to develop. The patient may not remember the puncture. The lump or mass can be tender. The most common post-traumatic mass is an epidermal inclusion cyst. It is thought that some skin cells get driven under the surface and survive. They continue to grow and secrete normal oils and protein, which gradually form a mass. Another post-traumatic mass is a pyogenic granuloma, which is a raised, red lump that easily bleeds. It usually requires removal and cauterization with silver nitrate or another electrocautery.

© 2022American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

This content is written, edited and updated by hand surgeon members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Find a hand surgeon near you.

Pictures, symptoms, causes, and treatment

A skin abscess or boil is a bump on or below the surface of the skin. Abscesses usually contain pus or clear fluid and can appear anywhere on the body.

Most skin abscesses are harmless and heal on their own. In some cases, however, they require medical intervention.

In this article, we outline the symptoms, causes, and treatments for skin abscesses. We also cover potential complications and when to seek medical care.

A skin abscess looks much like a pimple, but it is larger. It is also usually deeper under the skin.

Abscesses contain pus or clear fluid and typically do not pose a threat to a person’s health. Larger abscesses may require medical intervention, but they are not necessarily dangerous.

However, in some cases, leaving a skin abscess untreated can lead to severe complications.

Skin abscesses can occur all over the body but are common in the following areas on the body:

  • under the arms
  • on the lower back
  • around the genitals and anus

A bump on the skin may be an abscess if it:

  • is firm yet squishy
  • is round
  • contains pus
  • is painful, swollen, and red
  • is hot to the touch, which means it is likely infected
  • features a punctum, a pinpoint opening at the center

People with an infected abscess may also have a fever and swollen lymph nodes.

Abscesses that do not contain bacteria are typically painless and do not show signs of infection.

People can develop skin abscesses for a variety of reasons, but the most common cause is bacterial infection.

The bacteria typically enter the skin through a hair follicle, puncture wound, or cut to the skin. Sometimes abscesses form around a foreign object, such as a splinter or piece of glass stuck in the skin.

Bacteria that can cause abscess infections include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), also known as staph
  • methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), strains of staph that are resistant to certain antibiotics
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Other less common causes of skin abscesses are:

  • anaerobic organisms
  • fungal infections
  • viruses
  • parasites

Some people have a higher risk of developing infected skin abscesses, including:

  • those with obesity
  • those who smoke
  • people with diabetes
  • people with compromised immune systems
  • those who use drugs intravenously

If a person has an infected or painful abscess, a healthcare professional will usually drain it of fluid by making an incision. They may administer local anesthetic to numb the skin for this procedure.

They will then flush the cavity with a saline solution. Healthcare professionals typically leave abscesses open to allow any remaining pus to drain out. If an abscess is very deep, a healthcare professional may pack the wound and insert a wick to aid with drainage.

Depending on the type of infection, doctors may prescribe antibiotics. However, the American College of Emergency Physicians recommend avoiding antibiotics in most cases.

At-home care after medical drainage involves slowly removing packed gauze from inside the wound. Sometimes people will need to have a healthcare professional pack the wound multiple times during the healing process.

People should use moist, warm compresses to encourage wound drainage and prevent the abscess from forming again.

It is also possible to treat boils at home using:

  • a heat pack to increase blood flow and help fight infection
  • over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as antibiotic ointments, to soothe the skin, speed healing, and prevent infection
  • other OTC medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, to help with pain and swelling

People should not try to drain an abscess at home. If a person does this, they risk introducing bacteria into the wound, which can lead to complications.

An infected abscess that a person leaves untreated can spread to the bloodstream and lymph nodes, which can be life threatening. An untreated infection may also lead to gangrene.

Treatment may be difficult in cases where MRSA causes the infection.

If an abscess is due to an infection, a person can take the following steps to help prevent more abscesses from forming in the future:

  • practicing good personal hygiene, including washing the hands
  • avoiding using shared equipment and items such as towels to limit transmission of the infection
  • disposing of bandages and tissues properly
  • shaving carefully to prevent nicks and cuts on the skin
  • following a healthful diet
  • quitting smoking
  • maintaining a healthful weight

Often, a skin abscess is nothing serious. However, sometimes medical attention is necessary.

People should seek immediate medical attention if they:

  • have signs of a serious infection, such as fever
  • experience recurring abscesses
  • are immunocompromised
  • have a chronic condition or illness, such as diabetes

While most skin abscesses are nothing to worry about, some may require a healthcare professional’s attention. It is possible to treat a small abscess at home by applying heat to shrink and drain it.

If an abscess is large or infected, a doctor will cut it open to drain the fluid buildup.

If a person suspects they have an infected abscess, they should seek medical attention. Untreated infected abscesses are potentially life threatening, especially if the infection is the result of MRSA.

Historical photos from Chernobyl. The first days after the accident and subsequent mutations

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Caution! Some of the photos below may shock you.

Ukrainian photojournalist Igor Kostin was one of the first to photograph the destroyed nuclear reactor at Chernobyl after the accident on April 26, 1986.

Photographs of Kostin, which the Soviet leadership allowed to be published only a few weeks after the accident, were distributed around the world, showing its scale .

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After the disaster, the photographer often returned to the exclusion zone, and also photographed the terrible consequences that radioactive contamination had on people and animals in Ukraine and Belarus.

Igor Kostin died in 2015 in a car accident. He was 78 years old.

Historical images The BBC received from the photographer’s family.

Photo by Igor Kostin/Law Net

Photo of the helicopter that took part in the liquidation of the accident, taken from another helicopter. The first days after the accident.

Photo by Igor Kostin/Law Net

Pollution monitoring from a helicopter.

Photo by Igor Kostin/Law Net

Conscripts in unreliable protective suits are cleaning the roof of Unit 3.

image copyrightIgor Kostin/Law Net

The protective equipment of emergency responders was often self-made.

The author of the photo, Igor Kostin/Law Net

Washing a truck that worked in the area of ​​radioactive contamination.

The author of the photo, Igor Kostin/Law Net

One of the burial grounds for equipment contaminated during firefighting at Unit 4.

The author of the photo, Igor Kostin/Law Net


The author of the photo, Igor Kostin/Law Net

The sixth clinic in Moscow treated the most critical patients who received high doses of radiation. Among them are firefighters, who were the first to be sent to put out a radioactive fire.

Photo by Igor Kostin/Law Net

Photo by Igor Kostin/Law Net

Photo by Igor Kostin/Law Net

Children are the most vulnerable and unprotected victims of radiation. 1987

Photo by Igor Kostin/Law Net

Dosimetric monitoring of self-settlers in the Chernobyl zone. 1987

The author of the photo, Igor Kostin/Law Net

Igor was born in Belarus after the disaster. The photo was taken in an orphanage. His parents abandoned him. Belarus, like Ukraine, has been particularly affected by radioactive contamination.

Photo by Igor Kostin/Law Net

According to media reports, in the 1990s Igor was adopted by a woman from England who saw his photo in the Western press.

The author of the photo, Igor Kostin/Law Net

In the first years after the catastrophe, animals born in the territories where the wind brought radioactive dust from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant underwent terrible mutations.

Photo by Igor Kostin/Law Net

Photographer Igor Kostin at the Hiroshima hospital during an examination at the local Institute of Radiation Medicine.

In the Chernobyl zone 30 years after the disaster: photo essay

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30 years after the accident of the fourth reactor around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is still an exclusion zone.

Photographer Jerzy Wierzbicki visited this zone together with two guides – former employees of the nuclear power plant.

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  • How wildlife returns to the Chernobyl zone

After the reactor accident on April 26, 1986, the fire raged at the station for 10 days, contaminating the environment with a huge amount of radioactive particles in large areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

Areas around the nuclear power plant were evacuated. The exclusion zone around the station with a radius of 30 km is patrolled by police officers armed with AK-47s.

Photo by Jerzy Wierzbicki

In fact, the zone was never completely evacuated. Evacuation rules differed depending on the level of radiation.

Officially, no one is permanently at the nuclear power plant. Workers are allowed to stay in the city of Chernobyl, located about 15 kilometers from the plant, but even there – only for several weeks at a time.

Not far from the nuclear power plant, Maria and Ivan Semenyuki have dinner in their native village of Paryshev, located 20 kilometers from Chernobyl.

They were relocated immediately after the accident. The authorities said they would be able to return in three days.

The author of the photo, Jerzy Wierzbicki

Suspecting that they would not be able to return for much longer, they left some things in their “Zaporozhets” and left for the village of Borodyanka.

There the soldiers doused them with cold water, after which Ivan was told that he would now work as a builder.

After two years, they were finally allowed to return to Paryshev. They still live there, despite the fact that this is an exclusion zone. Other people live in the village and nearby forest, but the area is mostly empty.

Visitors to the exclusion zone can measure changes in radiation levels with a dosimeter. In the house of Ivan and Maria, 30 years after the disaster, the readings of the device are very small – even less than the safe level.

Zone averages range from 0.9 microsieverts per hour away from the nuclear power plant to 2.5 microsieverts up close.

Photo by Jerzy Wierzbicki

In an area where a high reading is recorded – for example, 214.2 microsieverts, as in the photo above, it is dangerous to stay even for a few minutes.

The dosimeter recorded this level of radiation near the city of Pripyat on equipment contaminated with radiation, which was used in the aftermath of the accident in 1986.

Image copyright Jerzy Wierzbicki

An old ZIL truck lies on a pile of scrap metal.

Image copyright Jerzy Wierzbicki

The city of Pripyat is completely abandoned. It was built in 1970 for nuclear power plant workers. 50 thousand people lived in it. There used to be a swimming pool next to the elementary school.

These residents were taken out of the city 36 hours after the disaster.

The lid of the fourth nuclear power plant reactor was torn off by a hydrogen explosion at 01:24 on April 26. The city of Pripyat lies just 4 kilometers from Chernobyl.

Photo by Jerzy Wierzbicki

Pripyat has remained the same city as it was abandoned on April 27, 1986.

In the room of the first-aid post No. 26, vials with medicines remained intact on the table.

image copyrightJerzy Wierzbicki

In the abandoned kindergarten “Medvezhonok” in Pripyat, piles of tables and chairs lie in the rooms, and old toys are piled in the corner.

The residents of the city were not told anything about the accident at the nuclear power plant until the very moment of evacuation.

A total of 116,000 people were evacuated from the evacuation zone.

Photo by Jerzy Wierzbicki

A black-and-white photograph of Lenin still lies on the floor of an apartment in Pripyat. This is another trace of the world that disappeared forever decades ago.

Pripyat was a typical Soviet city built up with standard prefabricated apartment buildings. It had little greenery and many bad roads.

Image copyright Jerzy Wierzbicki

View from the 15th floor of the tallest building in the city.

Immediately after the disappearance of people, the surrounding forest began to return to the city, filling the spaces between the houses.

Now only wild animals live here permanently, the number of which has greatly increased. According to experts, they observe here rare species that were previously considered extinct in these places.

Image copyright Jerzy Wierzbicki

Not far from Chernobyl is a small abandoned resort made of wooden summer houses.

On the plywood wall of one of them you can still make out images of characters from the cartoon “Just you wait!”

Photo by Jerzy Wierzbicki

Duga-3 radar antenna towers over a military base near Chernobyl. The base was closed three years after the accident at the nuclear power plant.

In the restricted area, people are strictly forbidden to pick up thrown objects, especially gas masks left by the liquidators.

Photo by Jerzy Wierzbicki

About 600,000 people were mobilized by the authorities to take part in the work to put out the fire at the nuclear power plant and decontaminate the area.

A World Health Organization report released in 2005 estimated that a total of about 4,000 people would die from the effects of radioactive contamination.

Guides in the resettlement zone prefer not to talk about this topic, but the government of Ukraine believes that only 5% of the liquidators saved their health and life.