Q. What’s the best way to sterilize a needle? Every time our five-year-old daughter gets a splinter there is a family argument. My husband insists on waving a lit match under the needle for about 5 seconds. In my family we always dipped the needle in alcohol. Our daughter gets upset when we disagree over this and sometimes refuses to let us remove the splinter at all.
A. We’re not sure either technique will sterilize a needle. A few seconds under a match may not be adequate and a quick dip in alcohol is unlikely to kill all germs either. Soaking the needle for 10 minutes would be a safer approach but most people don’t have the patience when there is a painful splinter.
Why not try a doctor-recommended home remedy? Russell Copelan, MD, offered the following: cover the splinter with a little patch of salicylic acid plaster, the kind you would use to treat a wart. Some come with adhesive built in, but others need to be held in place with a bandage. Leave it on for 12 hours. It should ease the discomfort and in most cases, the splinter will work its way out after a few days.