Fishhook Injuries: Treatment and Removal

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Yes, it’s that time of year. Alaska is exceptionally beautiful in the summertime, and a lot of residents and tourists alike will be trying to catch the big one. Unfortunately, a lot of them catch themselves or their fellow fishermen. Since we see many fishhook injuries in the summer, we decided to bring you some tips to handle this riverside emergency.

Get Medical Attention

First, you need to get to a medical clinic as soon as possible. If you are in a location where you can reach a doctor within 24 hours, wrap the area with a lot of gauze or cloth to hold the fishhook in place.

Field Removal Techniques

If you can’t get to a doctor right away, you will need to remove the fishhook yourself. (Exceptions: Don’t remove fishhooks yourself that are near the eye or an artery!)

  • To remove the fishhook, first, numb the area with cold water or ice.
  • Second, wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Then, if the barb is not inside the skin, push the hook out the opposite direction it went in.
  • If the barb has entered the skin, push the fishhook through your skin (in the direction the hook went in) and cut off the barbed end (you can use wire cutters or pliers to cut the hook; always keep one of these in your tackle box. If you don’t have pliars, you can pull out the hook sharply by hooking fishing line through the fishhook bend).
  • Then, pull out the fishhook.

After-Removal Care

Wash the area mildly with soap and water. Be sure to get to a doctor as soon as you can, even if you had to remove the fishhook yourself. It is essential that you get a tetanus vaccination right away, especially if you haven’t had one in the last 5 to 10 years.

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