Paronychia

It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these infections. My daughter however, gets them way too often. She is a ‘picker’ and is always pulling off scabs, peeling fingernails and the list could go on!

What is a paronychia? It’s just the fancy medical name for an infection in the cuticle of the nail bed. Usually along one side of the fingernail. The common symptoms are intense sensitivity and pain, swelling, redness, hot to touch, and sometimes drainage of pus. Most often you will see them crop up after a manicure or pedicure. It can be the assumption that the salon was dirty, but usually that is not so. It’s when the cuticle is clipped too far back (or pulled back in my daughter’s case) and infection starts.DSC09687

Usually they will go away on their own, but if the symptoms aren’t arrested and gotten under control it can get progressively worsen and an antibiotic will be needed and also possibly drainage of the area. I will give a few ideas of some natural things you can do to start off with and then end with symptoms that would indicate the need for a Dr’s visit.

And with whatever treatment you choose, they can take a long time to completely heal. I think there was one on my toe that I had a few years back that I couldn’t wear shoes for a few months and it was about 6 months before it was completely gone. I was SO glad it happened in summer!

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Natural Remedies

  • First start by soaking your finger in a WARM epsom salt bath. The hotter the water you can stand the better. When the water is hot, it draws blood into the capillaries and to the surface of the skin, which also brings the white blood cells which are the infection fighting cells.
  • Use On Guard, Melaleuca (Tea Tree) or Oregano oil to help fight the infection. You can add it to the epsom salt soak or dilute in coconut oil and roll on the affected area. I often would soak the pad of a bandaid and put it on my daughter’s finger since she was too active to let it sit for too long.
  • Lavender oil may help the pain and throbbing a bit, but it will not help get rid of the causative infection.
  • Hydrogen peroxide solution is really good at killing new or quickly dividing cells. Those can be good or bad. Bacteria, fungus, yeast or new healing cells can fall into this category. For this reason, I apply hydrogen peroxide for the first few days to try and kill all the ‘bad’ stuff and then lay off so that the new healing cells and gain a foothold, grow and fight off the infection.

Reasons to seek Medical Care:

  • Worsening infection even after trying the treatments listed above
  • Fever
  • Red streaking line down the finger
  • Flu- like symptoms – body aches, chills, headache, etc

I hope you never get one of these infections as they are so difficult to get rid of and really affect everyday life because of the prolonged tenderness and pain to a finger or toe. Those of you who have had them, know all too well.

I hope these pointers can help if you ever need them! Please comment and let me know if there is anything else you have done to help get rid of one of these infections!

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