DESCRIPTIONParonychia is inflammation of the tissue folds that surround the fingernails. The inflammation can be bacterial or fungal and is not contagious.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSPain or tenderness, redness, warmth, and swelling in the affected finger.
Drops of pus that can be squeezed out of swollen tissue.
Redness and swelling around the fingernail.
No pain, warmth, itching, or pus.
CAUSESBacterial paronychia is preceded by injury, such as a torn hangnail. The infecting germ is usually staphylococcus.
Fungal paronychia is caused by a fungus or yeast infection.
RISK FACTORSInjury around the fingernail.
Exposure to constant wetness (washing dishes or other cleaning chores involving liquids).
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEInstructions for your child:
Protect hands from wetness.
Leave hangnails alone.
Avoid fingertip injury.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory studies, such as culture of the discharge, to identify the germ.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSIf untreated, may permanently damage the child's fingernail and nail bed.
PROBABLE OUTCOMEBacterial paronychia is curable with treatment in 2 weeks.
Fungal paronychia is chronic and may require 6 months to heal.
Recurrence is common with both forms.
HOME CAREInstructions for your child:
Wear heavy-duty vinyl gloves to prevent contact with irritating substances, such as water, soap, detergent, metal scrubbing pads, scouring pads, scouring powder, and other chemicals.
Dry the insides of gloves after use. Discard a glove that develops a hole. A glove with a hole harms the hand more than not wearing a glove.
Wear gloves when you peel or squeeze lemons, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, or potatoes.
Wear leather or heavy-duty fabric gloves for housework or gardening.
Use a dishwashing machine or ask someone else to wash dishes.
Avoid contact with irritating chemicals, such as paint, paint thinner, turpentine, and polish for cars, floors, shoes, furniture, or metal.
Use lukewarm water and very little mild soap to shower or bathe. All soaps are irritating. Expensive soaps offer no more protection against irritation than less-expensive ones.
For bacterial paronychia, apply warm soaks.
MEDICATIONFor minor pain, use non-prescription drugs, such as aspirin or acetaminophen.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or anti-fungal medicine (depending on the type of infection).
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes. Not contagious.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of paronchia.
Your child's pain is not relieved by treatment.