What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
Bacterial paronychia, a common infection around the nail of a finger, occurs when bacteria enter 23. Bacteria readily enter small injuries caused by nail biting or picking at the fingers. Thumb sucking can cause paronychia in small children 23. The area of infection turns red, swollen and painful, and pus may be visible. Several treatments help cure bacterial paronychia 23.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Soaking the infected area in warm water 3 to 4 times a day may cure bacterial paronychia if an abscess (a collection of pus under the skin) hasn’t already developed, states Pamela Rockwell, D.O 23. in the March 2001 issue of American Family Physician (AFP) 14. Vinegar or Burow’s solution (aluminum acetate) also help heal the infected area, lead author Dimitris Rigopoulos, M.D. states in the February 2008 issue of AFP. Warm soaks are also used after surgical drainage.
Drainage and Culture
How to Treat an infected ear piercing
The infected area in bacterial paronychia requires lancing to allow the infected fluid to drain and cure the infection if an abscess forms 23. Local anesthesia blocks feeling in the nerves for the procedure. A small sterile surgical blade is inserted under the nail bed to incise the abscess and allow pus to drain out. The area may be irrigated with sterile water and packed with gauze. Cultures to determine the type of bacteria present may be collected and sent to the laboratory.
- The infected area in bacterial paronychia requires lancing to allow the infected fluid to drain and cure the infection if an abscess forms 2.
- A small sterile surgical blade is inserted under the nail bed to incise the abscess and allow pus to drain out.
Topical antibiotic creams applied to the infected areas cure mild bacterial paronychia 23. Combining an antibiotic with steroids in cream and applying appears to promote faster healing, Rigopoulos states. Bacterial paronychia may require oral antibiotics if warm soaks and topical antibiotics alone aren’t enough to cure the infection 23. Some practitioners prefer to drain the wound and culture the fluid to determine the type of bacteria present, so antibiotics can be chosen to treat a specific infection, Rockwell states. Penicillin family drugs are effective against bacteria that come from the mouth; Clindamycin or Augmentin may also be used.
How to Treat an infected ear piercing
How to Clear Up Infected Pierced Ears
How to Lance a Wound
How to Soak an Infected Wound
Neosporin for Scar Removal
Over-the-Counter Treatment for a Staph Infection
Antibiotics for Balanitis
Can Cranberry Juice Treat Gonorrhea?
Home Treatment for Vaginal Ingrown Hairs
Care of Skin After Cryosurgery
- American Family Physician: Acute and Chronic Paronychia; Pamela Rockwell, D.O.
- Medline Plus: Paronychia
- Skinsight: Paronychia
- American Family Physicians: Acute and Chronic Paronychia; D. Rigopoulos, M.D. et al. 2008
- Leggit JC. Acute and Chronic Paronychia.Am Fam Phys. 2017 Jul;96(1):44-51.
- Toki S, Hibino N, Sairyo K, et al. Osteomyelitis caused by Candida glabrata in the distal phalanx. Case Rep Orthop. 2014;2014:962575. doi:10.1155/2014/962575
- Cadena J, Nair S, Henao-Martinez AF, Jorgensen JH, Patterson JE, Sreeramoju PV. Dose of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole to treat skin and skin structure infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2011;55(12):5430-2. doi:10.1128/AAC.00706-11
A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.