The term paronychia is given when the nails develop infection. It is actually the skin infection occurring in the fingernails or toenails. Two types of paronychia are recognized namely acute paronychia and chronic paronychia. Acute type occurs all of a sudden and the infected nail area develops swelling, redness and warmth. It is typically caused due to injury on the nails or due to bacterial infection. This type is more painful than the chronic type. In chronic paronychia, the infection will develop as a slow process. It is usually caused by Candida infection and it starts affecting one finger eventually spreading to other fingers. There will be swelling and tenderness with bearable pain around the nails.
Paronychia infection is caused due to nail injury due to accidents, biting off the tip of the nails and bacterial infection. Even fungus and Candida bacterium can affect the skin around the nails causing infection.
People who often have wet hands doing lot of washing and people who are diabetic are more prone to infection than others.
Some of the common symptoms of paronychia are redness in nail, warmth or tenderness, swelling and pain. In severe cases, pus like liquid gets collected in the nail or around the nail. The range of symptoms depends on the type of paronychia. In case of acute type, the pain is intense and there will be inflammation around the nails. In chronic type, there will not be many symptoms. The infected area will be slightly swollen and probably the cuticle around the nail would be missing. The skin may become boggy and there will be infection in more than one finger.
Your doctor can easily identify the disease by simply looking at the skin around the nails. It takes 5-10 days for acute form of paronychia to be treated, whereas in chronic type it may take several days and even weeks.
You should keep your fingernails clean and dry. Make it a point to dry the fingers after using water. You can wear rubber gloves if your work involves repeated working with water or harsh chemicals. Be gentle while trimming your nails. Do not bite your nails or pick your skin around the nails. For diabetic people, you need to monitor the blood sugar levels often to avoid getting infected.
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Simple home remedy of soaking your infected fingers in warm water will provide great relief. You can repeat this process for several times a day and mild infections will settle down with this therapy.
You can visit the clinic and consult your doctor for getting proper antibiotics like Dycill, cloxacillin, trimethoprim or cephalexin. In case of pus collection, your doctor will give a shot of local anesthesia for draining off the pus inside.
You need to take the course of antibiotics in case of fungal infection or bacterial infection. In severe form of infection, oral antibiotics are given for destroying the microorganisms that cause infection.