Paronychia: When should One Seek Medical Advice?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 18, 2014
Quick Bites

  • Paronychia is skin infection around nails.
  • It is caused by an injury to the nail.
  • Swelling and redness of the area are common symptoms.
  • If the infection does go away, medical care must be taken.

What is Paronychia?

Paronychia is a kind of skin infection which occurs around the nails when an area is injured.

Paronychia Treatment

What Causes Paronychia?

Paronychia is often caused by an injury caused to the area. The injury could be in form of bite or can be caused by plucking a hanging nail. Also, trimming or pushing a cuticle can also lead to an injury.

Besides these, there few other reasons that can lead to Paronychia like:

  • Bacteria
  • Candida, a fungus type
  • Other type of fungi

People who have fungal nail infection, are diabetic, or keep their hands in water for long periods are at a high risk of fungal paronychia.

What are the Symptoms?

The main symptom of paronychia is a swollen, red in colour area around the nail which consistently aches. There could also be an occurrence of blisters which are filled with pus, especially in cases of a bacterial infection.

The nail may start look detached from the finger, or may form an abnormal shape, or may turn into an abnormal colour.

Paronychia Treatment

What is the Treatment for Paronychia?

If a person suffers from bacterial paronychia, soaking the nail in hot water at least 2 to 3 times a day can be of great help. It can reduce the swelling and pain. Besides, antibiotics prescribed by a doctor can also cure the problem. When the problem becomes severe, a cut is made on the finger by a doctor to drain out the puss. A part of the nail is also removed in some cases.

If a person suffers from fungal paronychia, an anti-fungal medicine may help to treat the infection. The hands must be kept dry in such cases.

When to Seek Medical Help?

When you see that the symptoms of paronychia don’t go away even after treatment it is advisable to seek medical help immediately.  There can be symptoms which worsen or there can be new symptoms which develop. In both the cases getting medical help is important.

If even after you have taken proper care of the infection yet, the problem persists it is best to seek medical help. There can be some symptoms which can worsen or some new symptoms may develop.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

Read more on Paronychia Treatment.

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