Fingernail infection is called as Paronychia in medical terms. It is the infection found on the edges of the fingernail and toenail. It is necessary to get it treated on time failing which there is chance for spreading to severe infection affecting the entire finger. This is the most popular type of hand infection affecting men and women equally.
For some people both the fingernails and toenails are affected.
The main cause of fingernail infection is due to bacteria. It enters into the skin that surrounds the nail when the nail is damaged due to biting or dishwashing or due to any other injury. Fungus can also enter the nail causing paronychia and often this infection recurs in the same person.
Nail infection are predominantly caused by fungi belonging to the group dermatophytes. (Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton interdigitale commonly causes nail infection).
These microscopic organisms or pathogens enters the skin when there is a cut or scrapes on your fingers and thrive on the region of the nail-bed. They cannot tolerate sunlight and loves moisture.
Not washing the hands properly and injuring the hands during physical work are the main causes for fingernail infection.
There will be redness along with swelling around the nail. Pain may or may not be there. The finger becomes sore to touch due to inflammation. Sometimes there can be pus collection inside the nails forming an abscess. The intensity of pain varies on the nature of fungal infection and the damage caused to the nails.
Nails become thick and brittle and sometimes they become ragged and distorted due to fungal infection. In rare cases, the nail separates from the nail-bed protruding from the skin resulting in pain and pus formation. There can be itchiness on the area of infection.
Who are at risk?
People with reduced blood circulation, diabetic patients, and persons who sweat more are prone to nail infection. There are incidents for hereditary factor to show nail infection continues in family.
Individuals who work frequently in moist environment with bare hands can get fingernail infection. Persons with weakened immunity and those who are suffering from AIDS and other blood related disorders can also get this infection.
It is easy to detect fingernail infection on mere physical examination of the affected finger. Your doctor can tell you how intense the infection is and decide the course of treatment.
For mild form of infection, it is enough if you soak the finger in lukewarm soap water for some time. You can soak the finger for at least 10-15 minutes and repeat this process several times. This will reduce the intensity of inflammation and decrease the redness and soreness on the finger.
If the infection is severe with pain, then your doctor will treat the abscess by draining the pus inside.
He will use lidocaine or local anesthesia to create numbness in the finger so that you will not feel the pain. He would gently open the abscess using a scalpel and drain the pus inside the finger.
For some cases, he would place a wick inside the abscess so that it could drain completely. It is called packing wick and should be replaced within a day or two.
If you delay in visiting the doctor the infection may get severe and spread down under the fingernail which warrants nail removal. However the nail will grow after some days or weeks. For severe infection antibiotic creams or oral antibiotics are prescribed. Sporanox, fluconazole and Terbinafine are prescribed orally.
Topical creams and nail polish that contains antifungal lacquer like Penlac is given. Even after the surgical process of pus removal, you can soak the finger in antibiotic soap solution for 10-15 minutes a day to get comfort.
Pictures of Fingernail Infection :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Fingernail Infection
You should use the fingernails sparingly. Do not bite it when you are tense or getting emotional. If your work involves working with water frequently then you need to wear rubber gloves for protecting your fingers.
In case you are diabetic watch your toenails and fingernails regularly.
Wash your hands before eating food and after using toilet. Be careful not to hurt your fingers while using knife to avoid cuts.