What Causes Paronychia And What Are Its Symptoms And Home Remedies

Paronychia is a common skin infection surrounding the nail fold. It is a bacterial or fungal infection of the skin around the nail. In this condition the skin around the nail becomes thick and red. Pus may be expressed from the space between the nail fold and nail plate. It is most common infection occurring in housewives, cooks, cleaners, and barmaids whose job require frequent washing and wetting of hands.

Paronychia frequently occurs in children, due to finger sucking and biting of nails.

The condition can occur in fingernails or in toenails. In its beginning stage, paronychia is painful. The infection can be divided into 2 categories, acute paronychia and chronic paronychia. In acute cases, the infection occurs suddenly, while in chronic cases it takes longer period for its development. Paronychia generally affects one nail, but the condition can occur simultaneously in many nails together.

Causes And Symptoms Of Chronic Paronychia

What Causes Paronychia?

Both acute and chronic paronychias occur after the skin surrounding the nail area is damaged. It can be a result due to biting of nails, ingrown nails or an injury caused to the skin while trimming nails.

In acute cases, most often staphylococcus bacteria are responsible. Other species that may be associated with the condition include pseudomonas and streptococcus species.

Chronic cases occur as a result of fungus and Candida germs. The condition occurs repeatedly. There may be superadded bacterial infection. Usually the cause for chronic paronychia is repeated exposure of water and detergents to your fingers and toes. The problem is common among persons suffering from diabetes.

Chronic Paronychia Symptoms

In the beginning, patient complains of pain around the nail. Within a day the skin surrounding the nail becomes red and warm. Usually there is throbbing pain in and around the affected nail area. Patient is unable to do any work with that finger. Pain aggravates from touch and jar. Soon the affected area fills with pus.

In bacterial infection the onset of symptoms are rapid. In fungal infection the symptoms occur slowly. There is a change in color of skin around the nail. It looks boggy. In pseudomonas infection the nail and surrounding skin appears green.

Natural Home Remedies For Paronychia

In most cases paronychia can be treated with home remedies. In rare instances, it may require drainage of pus.

  • In acute paronychia, soak your finger in warm water for ten minutes, at least three times in a day. It helps to reduce pain and inflammation. You should keep your hands and fingers clean all the time.
  • Add two teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a bowl of warm water. Now soak the affected finger for thirty minutes. It helps to draw out the infection more rapidly.
  • Avoid working in water and detergent. Keep your hands as dry as possible all the time. Use waterproof gloves while working in water. After your work is over, clean your hands with antibacterial soap.
  • If the cause is fungal infection, applying anti fungal home remedy such as tea tree oil mixed in olive oil is effective.
  • Another home remedy that can be tried for yeast and fungus infection includes oregano oil and olive oil. Mix two to three drops of oregano oil in one teaspoon of olive oil. Apply the prepared mixture over the affected area once in a day for three weeks.
  • If you do not find relief from the home remedies within few days, you have to consult your doctor. If there is pus formation he may incise to drain the area. He may also prescribe oral antibiotics.
  • People suffering from diabetes should always try to prevent paronychia. If they suffer from paronychia, the first priority of treatment is to control blood sugar, and treat the conditions with prescribed antibiotics.

Follow three simple steps to avoid paronychia. Avoid biting nails, avoid sucking fingers. Take precautions while trimming the nails and prevent damaging the skin around the nails. Use finger stalls, or hand gloves while working in water.

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