Treatments for Nail Problems – Paronychia
The nail disease paronychia [par’onikeea] (commonly misidentified as a synonym for whitlow or felon) is an often-tender bacterial or fungal hand infection or foot infection where the nail and skin meet at the side or the base of a finger or toenail. The infection can start suddenly (acute paronychia) or gradually (chronic paronychia).
Dr. Rob Hicks writes on the BBC web: The cuticle acts as a protective seal but if it’s damaged in any way bacteria can enter the skin and cause infection. These infections can be extremely painful as the skin becomes inflamed, hot, red and throbs continually.Pus is usually present, along with gradual thickening and browning discoloration of the nail plate.If a large amount of pus has collected, then it may be necessary to see your doctor who will lance open infection in the skin to release it.
Acute paronychia is usually caused by bacteria. This is often treated with antibiotics, sometimes as a cream, other times orally. Chronic paronychia is most often caused by a yeast infection of the soft tissues around the nail but can also be traced to a bacterial infection. If the infection goes on and on then a fungal infection isoften the cause and this needs anti-fungal cream or paint to treat it.Whitlows are common, especially for people who have to repeatedly wash their hands. Excess water weakens the seal, while soaps and detergents remove the protective skin oils leaving the skin dry and more liable to split. Most often, trauma to the cuticle allows infection in. Biting or picking at the cuticle, damage through work and overenthusiastic manicuring are the usual culprits. If someone has a cold sore and puts their finger in their mouth then a herpes infection whitlow may appear. Individuals who work with their hands in water, such as health care workers and food processors, are quite prone to the fungal type of infection.