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Even if you fish carefully, you may get a fish hook in your skin. A fish hook is a curved, sharp tool placed on a lure or line to catch fish. Some fish hooks have a barb near the tip that keeps the fish on the hook. You can also use a barbless fish hook. It may reduce the chance of a fish hook injury.
Fishhook injuries often occur when you remove a slippery, flopping fish from your line. Injury may also occur when you cast a line, when another person casts a line, or if you walk barefoot near fishing gear. The chance of a fish hook injury rises if you aren't familiar with fishing gear.
Most fish hook injuries puncture the skin of the face, scalp, fingers, back, or ears. Remove a fish hook that isn't too deep. It's important to clean the puncture wound well to help prevent infection.
A fish hook can cause other problems if it enters the eye, muscles, tendons, ligaments, or bones. A fish hook injury is more serious when:
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
With severe bleeding, any of these may be true:
With moderate bleeding, any of these may be true:
With mild bleeding, any of these may be true:
Symptoms of infection may include:
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and illness. Some examples in adults are:
Usually found in dirt and soil, tetanus bacteria typically enter the body through a wound. Wounds may include a bite, a cut, a puncture, a burn, a scrape, insect bites, or any injury that may cause broken skin. Tetanus can also happen with other infections, like dental infections. It can happen during a surgery or pregnancy and delivery.
A wound can be so small, you may not notice you have one. Or a skin blister could break and become an open wound. If there is any delay in finding or cleaning a wound, there is an increased risk for skin infection and a chance for tetanus to get in the wound. A tetanus infection can start 3 to 21 days after the bacteria enter the wound. Be especially careful about wounds on your fingers and toes.
Many people may not know when they got their last tetanus shot. So it's a good idea to call your doctor to see if you need one.
Make sure to stay up to date on your tetanus shots. A tetanus shot is recommended:
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call 911 or other emergency services now.
Put direct, steady pressure on the wound until help arrives. Keep the area raised if you can.
Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.
Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.
Here are things you can do at home to care for a fish hook injury.
Wash your hands, and then put pressure on the wound for 15 minutes.
You may need to cut the fishing line and apply ice to numb the area. Then see if the barb is in the skin. If removing the fish hook is too painful, get medical care.
Do not try to remove a fish hook (seek medical care instead) if any of the following are true:
Wash your hands, and then rinse the wound for 10 to 15 minutes with mild soap and water.
If the wound is large or deep, or it opens with movement, it probably needs stitches.
Cover the area if you need to protect it from getting dirty or irritated.
Fishhook injuries to the eye are rare. When they occur, they can cause a serious injury, including blindness. Prompt emergency room or ophthalmology care is needed to remove the fish hook, prevent complications, and minimize damage from the fish hook.
Do the following, and then seek emergency care:
Covering the eye prevents the hook from moving.
Be very careful not to put pressure on the hook or the eye.
The injured eye will move less if the uninjured eye is covered. This may prevent further damage to the injured eye.
Call a doctor if any of the following occur during self-care at home:
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared for your appointment.
Current as of: November 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review Board: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineH. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: November 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
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