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How Do I Choose the Best Paronychia Treatment?

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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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If you have paronychia, an infection in the skin surrounding the fingernails or toenails, choosing the best treatment typically depends on the extent of your infection and whether the condition is acute or chronic. Mild, acute cases typically only require soaking the affected area in a mix of warm water and antibacterial soap several times a day. If the infection spreads to the nearby tissue, oral antibiotics may be a part of your treatment. If an abscess forms, surgical intervention could be required to drain it. In the event that the condition becomes chronic, you may need to use topical steroids or antifungals, and you will also need to determine what is triggering the infections and try to avoid it.

For mild cases of paronychia, the initial treatment can be done at home and typically involves soaking the infected finger or toe several times a day until the condition clears. This can be done using a mixture of half water and half antibacterial soap, or specially made soak packs or Epsom salt may be used. You should soak the infected area for about 15 minutes at a time each session.

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A healthcare professional may need to be involved in your acute paronychia treatment if an abscess forms, or if the infection spreads to other parts of your finger or toe beyond the nailbed. Wider spread infections of this nature may require oral antibiotics, such as clindamycin or amoxicillin, to kill them. A healthcare professional may also need to perform a surgical procedure to drain an abscess; this typically involves numbing the area, then using a scalpel to make an incision that allows the pus to drain. After this is completed, he or she will usually pack it and have you keep the packing in place for one to two days, after which he or she will likely have you resume warm soaks to ensure the infection clears completely and does not return.

Chronic paronychia treatment is typically different from acute treatment as the causes are different, though the two conditions may initially look the same. Ongoing exposure to irritants or moisture are usually to blame for chronic cases. If your symptoms last more than six weeks, you may require treatment with topical steroids and antifungal creams, though antibiotics may also be necessary for secondary infections. You should also try to find and avoid the root cause of the issue whenever possible, or it may just return.

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ysmina
Post 3

@turquoise-- Yea, it does sound like you have acute paronychia although only a doctor can confirm it. I did experience the same symptoms after a pedicure. I think it was a toe nail infection and I followed the same home remedies the article mentioned. I soaked my feet in warm salt water (with lots of salt) every day and used an anti-bacterial cream too. If it's not a serious infection, I think that will be enough; it was enough to treat mine.

A lot of foods and spices we keep at home actually have anti-bacterial properties like cinnamon, turmeric and garlic. I cannot suggest them because I never tried it myself, but I have a feeling that it might help if you consume and apply these foods.

If you get an abscess though, you have to go to a doctor, I don't think that can be treated at home.

turquoise
Post 2

I think I might have paronychia. I haven't been to the doctor yet, but the symptoms seem to be right on.

The side of my nail on my index finger is painful and looks a little red and swollen too. What's more is that I went to a new place for my manicure last week and I'm scared that I got something from their tools. I had never been to that spa before and I'm not sure how good they are with hygiene.

Anyway, I've been using an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream on my finger for the past couple of days. I just figured that if I have a bacterial fingernail infection, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal creams would help.

Do you think I'm doing the right thing? What else can I do to treat paronychia without a visit to the doctor? Are there any good home remedies I can use?

discographer
Post 1

My dad has been dealing with this for a while now. He's basically tried all of these treatments, except for surgical draining which thankfully has never been necessary.

He actually responds to oral antibiotics really well but after his dose is finished, the paronychia seems to return in a matter of months. I think he has chronic paronychia which requires a lot of care. He's currently off the oral antibiotics but is regularly doing soaks and is also using a special medicated nail file and polish as a toenail fungus treatment. This has prevented the infection from spreading so far.

I just wish we could find a permanent solution to get rid of this infection forever.

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