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Paronychia (Nail Infection) (cont.)

When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for a Paronychia?

Call a health care professional if the redness extends beyond the skin around the nail or to the pad of the finger. This redness shows that the infection of the nail might be forming a more serious finger infection with pus formation of the deep tissues of the fingertip, called a felon.

Contact a health care professional if an abscess is forming. The condition requires drainage by a doctor. Opening (or incising) an abscess to drain the pus should not be attempted at home.

At the first sign of pus collection, seek medical attention for possible drainage. If one notices that the swelling and redness has extended down the finger or one is unable to move the joints of the affected finger, go to a hospital's emergency department immediately. This condition may or may not be associated with symptoms and signs such as fever or chills, indicating a serious infection.

What Health Care Professionals Diagnose and Treat Paronychias?

Primary care doctors will usually be able to diagnose and treat paronychia. Rarely, an abscess could get large enough that a surgical specialist (hand surgeon) would need to intervene.

How Do Health Professionals Diagnose a Paronychia?

A doctor will examine the finger and decide how severe the infection is and what treatment is needed.

Are There Home Remedies for a Paronychia (Nail Infection)?

Care at home includes warm soaks in warm water or a mixture of 50% warm water and 50% liquid antibacterial soap three to four times daily for about 15 minutes. This soaking should be done at the first sign of redness around the nail. Once any abscess is visible, you should see your doctor.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Paronychia »

A paronychia is a superficial infection of epithelium lateral to the nail plate.

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