Paronychia is a viral infection that develops around the cuticle of the fingernail or toenail. The causes are various, and include biting your fingernails or standing in water for long periods of time. Paronychia first appears as tenderness or soreness around the cuticle. Pockets of pus will develop along the sides of the nail and can become quite painful. As the condition progresses, the finger or toe will become swollen and in extreme conditions cannot move. When it gets to this stage, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Treatment for Minor Paronychia
For minor cases of Paronychia, the skin around the cuticle becomes sensitive and pockets of pus appear under the nail. These pockets become very painful and when broken the pus will drain and the pain is relieved. A tissue should be used to absorb the pus so it does not spread to other nails. The hand or foot should be washed with warm soap and water immediately and hydrogen peroxide should be applied to the area to kill infection. Keep the area clean and dry, use the peroxide daily, and the infection will clear up in about two weeks.
Treatment for Severe Paronchia
For severe cases of Paronychia, the condition will progress for several weeks until the nail discolors, becomes very thick and the surface of the nail becomes very rough. The infection may spread from the nail into the finger or toe. Swelling ensues, and the finger or toe becomes immobile. A doctor should be consulted immediately for treatment. In cases of severe Paronychia, an abscess will form and will need to be lanced and treated by a physician. In severe cases, a doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic medicine and cream as part of the treatment.
Home Remedy for Paronchia
Soak hands or feet in one quart of apple cider vinegar with one quart of warm water for 30 minutes to draw out the infection. Add two drops of oregano oil, which is an antifungal agent, to one drop of olive oil and apply this lotion to the infected area daily for two weeks to kill the infection and keep the Paronychia from spreading.