Your fingers nails is very prone to fungal infection which can occur due to various reasons including weak immune system, exposure to contaminated manicure utensils, finger injury and a wet environment. The main symptoms of nail infection are discoloration and the presence of a white or yellow spot which usually occurs at the tip of your nail causing it to lift, crack and deform. If this condition is left untreated the infection can spread throughout the other areas and to the surrounding tissues. If you suspect an infection in the skin near your finger nails it is better to consult your doctor about it to ensure that early diagnosis can be done to determine if it can be treated with simple home treatment options or with special drug medication.
Paronychia is one of the most common types of skin infection that usually develops in the fingernail. It is important to understand how this condition is formed and what treatments are available to completely solve the problem. There are two main cases of Paronychia; acute and chronic.
Acute paronychia occurs when the bacteria enters the fold of the skin after an injury in the area because of some activities like aggressive manicuring, nail biting and finger sucking. It can develop in just a few hours and then the nail fold will start to become painful, red and swollen. The yellow pus can develop under the cuticles that separate the nail and the skin. The most common bacteria that is responsible for the condition is Staphylococcus aureus but in some cases Pseudomonas species and Streptococcus species may also get involve.
Chronic Paronychia is a worse condition that is harder to treat. The skin that surrounds the nail area is moist although swelling is less prominent compared to the Acute Paronychia. This disease is usually developed due to a prolonged exposure to detergents, water and other chemicals. Some of your daily activities like janitorial work, fishing, dishwashing and bartending can increase the risk of the development of the disease. The infection is normally caused by the combination of bacteria and yeast, most particularly a fungus called Candida. The infection can start in one nail fold and can spread to the others. This condition also causes greenish discoloration on the nails.
Treatment Option Available for Treating Paronychia
Acute Paronychia can be treated by soaking your fingers or toes in a mixture of liquid bacterial soap and warm water. Let it soak for about 15 minutes at least 3-4 times a day. In a more serious condition, if the symptoms are not reduced after doing the primary treatment the physician may prescribe antibiotics like cephalixin, erythromycin and dicloxacillin. In case pus has already developed the doctor may perform an incision and will numb the area and drain the pus.
Worse cases of Paronychia are usually treated with effective anti-fungal medications such as ketoconazole and clotrimazole. Prevention measures of the infection are recommended which includes refraining from washing hands frequently, biting the fingernails and wearing rubber gloves.