Here's What Happens If You Don't Remove a Splinter

Splinters are high in the national ranking of Most Annoying Things. They're in a heated competition with Fran Drescher, traffic jams, and how horrible your internet is at home. The nagging pain of a splinter ensures you do nothing but try to remove it for thirty minutes after it punctures your skin. But what would happen if you just ignored it and never remove the splinter? (Will it train baby turtles in martial arts and raise them as though they were its own?)

As ever, SciShow rides in on a white stallion to answer your most pressing least-pressing questions. Unfortunately, the answer doesn't align with the misguided folk wisdom that splinters work their way out of your skin eventually and everything will be fine. 

SciShow explains a couple assumptions about splinters you might have wrong. In showing how splinters don't necessarily get ejected from your skin automatically, they also show wood splinters can be much worse than a glass or metal splinter. 

The belief might stem from the idea that wood being pliable and natural might make a wood splinter less intrusive and problematic compared to glass, which is all terrifying edges. However, that's not the case. Organic materials like wood, flower thorns or cactus spines cause more inflammation than inorganic materials. Additionally, organic materials are more likely to be carrying fungus or bacteria that could result in problems like tetanus or rose gardener's disease.

For an in-depth look at how this happens and how your body responds to a splinter that's left in your skin, watch SciShow's explanation above.

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He's been carrying around a splinter since the Nixon administration. Follow him @dlukenelson.