How to Give First Aid Treatment for Paronychia
Paronychia is a fairly common skin infection that occurs specifically around the nails, both of the fingers and toes but is rarely serious. It is typically caused by an injury or irritation to the nail region. Usually, a bacterium, specifically Staphylococcus aureus is the cause of paronychia. A specific type of yeast, candida, other types of fungi and viruses may also lead to paronychia, although they are slightly uncommon. Having diabetes and having wet hands for an extended period of time increases a person’s risk for developing this infection.
Paronychia may either be acute or chronic. Acute paronychia progresses over several hours after infection. It is commonly caused by a staph infection of a wound, but it may also be caused by herpes simplex virus. This usually disappears within days and seldom reappears. In contrast, chronic paronychia slowly develops and cannot be may be more difficult to treat. This is usually caused by a simultaneous occurrence of bacteria and yeast in the wound, which may progress to complications. Medical treatment is not usually necessary, except in cases of chronic paronychia, which rarely occurs.
What Causes Paronychia?
Paronychia occurs when the nail is injured or irritated. The following causes can lead to paronychia:
- Nail biting
- Cutting the nails too short
- Biting off and hangnail removal
- Trimming or pushing back the cuticle
- Regular sucking on a finger
- Ingrown nail (especially in the toes)
- Getting manicures
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Paronychia?
The following are the common signs and symptoms of paronychia:
- Redness and swelling around the nail
- Sore to touch
- Painful upon touch
- Collection of pus, which is typically yellow-green in color (usually found in the cuticle area or at the location of a hangnail)
- In severe cases: differently coloured nail with an abnormal shape or detachment
How is First Aid Administered for Paronychia?
Treatment of paronychia will depend on the underlying cause. It is particularly easier to treat paronychia due to a bacterial infection. Paronychia due to fungal infections may last for a few months. The main goal of this treatment is to apply reduce risks of developing further complications and hasten healing time.
- At first signs of redness around the nail, immerse the affected finger in an equal mixture of hot water and liquid antibacterial soap for 15 minutes, two to four times a day. This will help limit swelling and minimize pain. This is only done for bacterial paronychia. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed.
- For fungal paronychia, apply topical antifungal lotions twice a day. Sometimes, oral antifungal medications are also prescribed.
- If there is pain, painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen may be taken.
- Keep the hands dry and warm to avoid the enhancing the living conditions of the bacteria or fungi.
Disclaimer: The information given in the article should not be used for medical diagnosis or medical advice. However, by taking first aid courses, appropriate treatment and management may be learned for small body infections, such as paronychia.