Hooked? What to do if you get “caught” up in all the fun

The lakes draw many to live and vacation in our beautiful area. However, a common injury for those who fish or just hang out near docks and boats is becoming “hooked” when the intended catch was a fish.

 The medical team at Essentia Health recommends removing the fish hook from your finger using the String Yank Technique:

 1. Remove hook from lure by cutting at attachment ring.

2. Tape any additional free hooks to prevent the hooks from also getting embedded.

3. First, wash your hands with soap and water, or disinfecting solution, and then wash the area surrounding the hook.

4. Tie off a loop with some fishing line. Place the loop over the hook’s shank, and lightly pull it against the bend of the hook.

5. With your other hand, press down and back on the hook’s eye.

6. Continue pressing down on the hook’s eye. Quickly and firmly jerk the fishing line backward, ensuring that the line is parallel to the shank. Don’t worry; only a tiny bit of skin is behind the barb.

7. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and apply a bandage.

8. Watch the area for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pain, or drainage.

 We do not recommend pushing the hook through your skin and cutting the barb as this introduces another potential wound for infection. Also, do not try to remove a fish hook that is deeply embedded in the skin, lodged within a joint or tendon, or located in or near an eye or artery. If you are at all unsure, it is best to seek medical attention immediately.

If fishing is a favorite pastime, we recommend your tackle box contain an electrician’s pliers with a wire-cutting blade and disinfecting solution. Additionally, don’t forget to receive a Tetanus immunization every 10 years. If needed, it may be done any time in the 72 hours following the injury.

Essentia offers four convenient locations for walk-in care 7 days-a-week when the unexpected happens: Convenient Care, Baxter and Brainerd Cub Foods, open 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Urgent Care, Essentia Health Baxter Clinic, open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; and Emergency care is available 24 hours a day at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center, located at 523 N. Third Street in Brainerd.

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