Paronychia is an infection that forms around the edge of a fingernail or toenail. Acute cases of paronychia are usually caused by biting, picking, or scratching the cuticle or sides of the nail. They may also occur when a manicure or pedicure is done with non-sterilized tools. Chronic paronychia may be caused by environmental factors, such as having a job where your hands are regularly submerged in water. Paronychia is typically caused by yeast, bacteria, or fungal infections, and its symptoms include skin that is red, tender and inflamed. Luckily, most cases of paronychia are relatively easy to treat, especially if caught early.
The most popular home treatment for paronychia is inexpensive and straightforward: soak the infected finger or toe in a dish of clean, warm water for 20 minutes. The warm water will draw the infection out, allowing the area to heal. Do this twice daily until the infection is gone, taking care to dry your hands thoroughly when finished. This prevents wet skin from exacerbating the problem and is very important to the healing process. If warm water soaks do not seem to make an impact on your infection after a few days, see a doctor for more intensive treatment.
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