Infections of the nail bed are extremely common, and have many causes, including nail fungus.
An infection of the nail bed can be unsightly, and painful. Your first priority, should you develop an infection, is to call your doctor and inform him/her of the situation. They may request to see you, or at the very least, provide you with important information about how to treat it. Some of this information can be found below.
What is it?
Paronychia is a condition that takes hold when small tears between the skin and the roots of the nail allow bacteria to build up. This causes pus, swelling and can also be responsible for abscesses beneath the nail. Paronychia is extremely painful and extremely contagious.
What are the symptoms?
Pain, redness or swelling around the cuticle are usually pretty good indications of what may be going on beneath the surface. If an abscess has formed beneath the nail, your nail may change color from pink from a yellow-green. A sudden change in nail color may also be indicative of more serious health issues, so contact your doctor right away if you experience this.
What are my treatment options?
Most infections are relatively mild and can be treated with OTC ointments and home remedies. One of those home remedies is consistent soaking with either baking soda or Epsom salts. Soak the affected area for ten minutes, three times a day, and dry thoroughly. Try peeling the dead skin off the nails as you dry them, as this, in conjunction with ointment, may speed up the healing process.
If the infection is fungal rather than bacterial, doctors can prescribe antifungal medication, which fights the infection, though your doctor may ask for a follow-up and provide directions for care until your next appointment. In rare cases, the removal of an abscess will require surgery, as improper drainage can lead to infection as well.
How can I prevent it?
Prevention is simple enough. Most people find hand-washing annoying. Be that as it may, it’s critical to the prevention of Paronychia. When washing your hands, use anti-bacterial soap and warm water, paying careful attention to the nail beds and the cuticles, which can be scrubbed using a non-abrasive brush, like a toothbrush.
It is important to make sure that your hands are dry when you’ve finished washing them, especially the cuticles. If you happen to notice any cuts or scrapes around the cuticle, dry them, apply an antibiotic ointment and bandage them. Change the dressing each time you wash your hands.