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in 3 easy steps...

Step 1:
Fill out questionnaire

Step 2:
Video-call with a doctor

Step 3:
Get prescriptions to your pharmacy

Peace of Mind,
in 3 easy steps…
Step 1:
Fill out questionnaire
Step 2:
Video-call with a doctor
Step 3:
Get prescriptions to your pharmacy

Paronychia (Bacterial Nail Infection)

In brief, paronychia is a skin infection that occurs next to nails. We also know this condition as whitlow. Bacteria or fungus in the area may lead to infection. In addition, the condition causes the skin near the nail to become tender and swollen. If untreated, the nail itself could come infected. Occasionally, pus may form. Thus, a bacterial nail infection may result. The article will further explain paronychia.

Dr. Andrea Bernhard
Hi! I’m Dr. Andrea Bernhard

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Paronychia

Pay attention to signs and symptoms of paronychia or bacterial nail infection.  To do so, be aware of the following-

  • To start, if the infection is painful and sudden, Staphylococcus aureus bacteria could be to blame.
  • Additionally, if symptoms develop slowly, fungus could be to blame. Yeast and Candida are two types of fungi that cause fungal infections. Typically, it could develop into a chronic condition if you do not seek treatment.
  • Thirdly, less common causes are other microbes. These may include viruses and other types of fungi.

Doctors may prescribe antibiotics to combat the bacterial nail infection. Yet, if the infection is from yeast or fungus, anti-fungal medicines may work, too. On rare occasions, doctors may need to perform a minor surgery to drain out collected pus.

Causes of a bacterial nail infection

To note, some infections can happen with no reason. Other conditions thrive from bacteria and may lead to infections.

Water

To start, hands in water may increase the risk of infection. Especially hands in soapy water. The nail fold may have damage from constant washing. Thus, people with jobs requiring constant washing are prone to the infection. For example, cleaners, bartenders, and fishermen. Beauticians, dairy farmers and dish washers are also examples as well.

Injury

In addition, if you have open cuts, there is a higher chance for the germs to get inside your skin. Broken skin can be from an injury. Also, people with a habit of biting nails may get an infection, too. Other conditions may lead to infection, for example:

  • Firstly, the presence of splinters may lead to a bacterial nail infection.
  • Secondly, if you have a manicure procedure executed poorly. This is from pushing the cuticles too far back.
  • Thirdly, pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema or contact dermatitis, for instance.

Covering

Lastly, gloves prevent ventilation. Also, gloves gather moisture. Additionally, it also encourages the growth of bacteria, too. Be sure to use cotton-lined rubber gloves. This is to minimize the effect of water on your hands. Especially do this if you have to keep your hands in water for long periods of time. Also, artificial nail extensions also cause germs to multiply as well.

How it Works

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Treatment for a bacterial nail infection

Antibiotics

Typically, antibiotic creams can treat paronychia or bacterial nail infections. But, antibiotic creams typically work if the infection is minor and not very painful. Oral antibiotics, however, treat moderate to severe bacterial infections. To note, consult your doctor if you do not experience a significant difference in pain after using antibiotics. Additionally, doctors perform a swab test to identify which strain of bacteria is causing the problem. As a result, they can alter the medication based on test results.

Draining the pus out

To drain the puss, a medical professional will make a small cut to the area. Thus, draining the accumulated pus and infection will ease swelling of nearby tissue. The skin around the finger will, in result, become less swollen.

Warm bathing and painkillers

Other forms of treatment include taking painkillers. In specific, Advil or Tylenol may help relieve pain. Additionally, soaking the infected finger or toe may also be beneficial, too. To avoid spreading infection, soak the infected finger or toe in warm saline water. In fact, do this a few times a day.

Also, beware of developing chronic paronychia. Typically, one is diagnosed with chronic paronychia if the infection is persistent and does not go away after 6 weeks of treatment. Here, it is likely that there is an underlying skin condition. Additionally, yeast or fungal infection may be to blame.

Precautions

  • To start, avoid keeping your hands in water for long periods of time.
  • Secondly, dry your hands and feet well after a shower or washing them. As much as possible, keep them dry as well.
  • Also, ensure your hands are clean, warm and dry as much as possible.
  • In addition, don’t use products that could irritate the skin. Like strong soaps and detergents, for example.
  • Always use caution when getting manicures. In brief, a bad manicure could cause infection. Also, don’t suck your finger or bite your nails as well.
  • Additionally, be sure to wear comfortable and breathable footwear if the injury is on the toe.
  • To note, if there is an underlying skin condition, be sure to treat it with antifungal creams. Steroid creams or antifungal tablets can also treat skin conditions as well.
  • Lastly, avoid biting your nails and clipping your nails too close to the skin. Also, don’t pick at the skin around your nails as well.

 

 

 

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