Infections are a common disorder and are produced by bacteria. The infected area might be swollen, hot, red, and tender. Pus accumulates in infected tissue. Infection in a finger, if treated, should begin to heal in a few days and should be completely resolved in a week or two.
Treating Mild Infection
A mild infection will clear up quickly with warm wet soaks every 8 to 12 hours and improved nutrition. Drinking plenty of liquids and taking added vitamins and minerals can be sufficient. Zinc stimulates T lymphocyte function, necessary to fight infections. B complex vitamins aid repair and replacement of tissues, and vitamin C with bioflavonoids is essential in immune function.
Raw honey might destroy bacteria by drawing moisture; use it as a dressing. Echinacea can be taken by mouth every four hours for 10 days to fight infection.
Fighting Moderate Infection
Drink distilled water with lemon juice and three cups of echinacea, goldenseal and astragalus tea daily. Choose from these options or combine topical applications: alcohol-free goldenseal extract can be applied directly to the infected finger and covered with gauze. Colloidal silver, a natural antibiotic solution, can be taken orally and applied topically. Tea tree oil diluted with four parts water and applied with a cotton ball three times a day will keep infection from spreading and will destroy fungus and bacteria.
Soak the affected finger in warm water with Epsom salts alternating with very cold water, moving back and forth at five-minute intervals for 15 minutes, up to four times a day. This will increase circulation so the body's own bloodstream will attack and heal the infection faster.
Herbs that cleanse the blood and support healing when taken internally are burdock root, dandelion, cayenne pepper, red clover, and yellow dock. Get plenty of rest. Elevate the finger higher than the heart to increase circulation and reduce pain and swelling.
A poor diet prevents cellular waste from being eliminated and impairs healing. Fasting on fresh raw juices for one to three days might restore balance to body systems, allowing efficient healing. Fresh pineapple contains enzymes that fight inflammation. Garlic, onions or a supplement such as methylsulfonylmethane will correct sulfur deficiency that lowers resistance to infection.
See a health-care practitioner if pain, redness, or swelling increase. Heat, fever, or red streaks leading away from the finger are signs of serious infection. Diabetics should seek medical treatment, because diabetes can wound healing.
If antibiotics are necessary, use a high-potency combination probiotic supplement for "friendly" bacteria. Eliminate junk food from the diet, and get regular exercise and adequate rest to prevent recurrence of infection.
- Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Balch, 2005
- Cleveland Clinic
Mary Earhart is a registered nurse, a public health nurse and licensed midwife. Her articles have appeared in professional journals and online ezines. She holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from California State University at Dominguez Hills. She works in a family practice clinic, has a home birth practice and her specialty is perinatal substance abuse.