Paronychia is a skin infection around the nails. The word para means “around” and onyx means “nail”. It affects the skin at the base of the nail and nail bed. It occurs more commonly in fingernails than toenails. Women are prone to this infection than men as they are more exposed to water and irritants. It is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection of the skin around the nails. Less commonly it can also be caused by a fungal infection.
There are two types of Paronychia –
- Acute Paronychia – it is a painful infection of the nail bed that comes on suddenly and heals faster. It is usually accompanied with pus formation (abscess) in the nail bed. Most commonly caused by a bacterial or viral infection after injury to nail bed.
- Chronic Paronychia – It resembles acute paronychia, but there is no pus formation. In this the infection lasts longer and keeps coming back. In order for chronic paronychia to be treated successfully the long-standing causative factor has to be removed. Most commonly caused by fungal infection from use of chemicals and immersing hands in water for long duration.
CAUSES/ RISK FACTORS –
- In Children who have habit of finger or thumb sucking.
- Individuals who have the habit of nail biting.
- Hangnails, any injury to the nail folds.
- Using unclean scissors or nail cutters for manicure.
- Keeping hands immersed in water for long durations.
- Any injury to the nail can cause bacteria, virus or fungus to invade the skin and cause an infection there.
- People who are high risk of getting paronychia include – bartenders, hairdressers, housekeepers, dishwashers, swimmers, diabetics and those with a weak immune system.
- Paronychia is a painful condition, it begins with pain, redness, heat and swelling of the skin around the nail.
- Acute paronychia can cause pus filled pockets (abscess) to form
- Chronic paronychia can cause the cuticle to break down and over the time the nail may separate from the skin.
- The nail may become thick, hard and deformed.
- If left untreated, paronychia can spread to cause a serious infection of hand (cellulitis) and may involve underlying tendons (infectious tendonitis)
- Nails dystrophy
- Distorted rigid nails
- Nails become yellow, green and brittle.
- After recovery it takes up to 1 year for the nail to grow back.
- Avoid habit of nail biting, picking nails and manipulating.
- Keep hands dry.
- Wear gloves when exposing hands to any chemicals or irritating substances.
- Keep nail cutters and nail scissors clean.
- Avoid any injuries to the nails.
- Keep the skin around the nail dry and clean
- Avoid any external applications like creams, lotions, ointments etc.
- Soak hands in warm water for 5-7 mins and immediately patting them dry.
HOMOEOPATHIC MANAGEMENT –
Homoeopathy offers good results in cases of both acute and chronic paronychia. Acute paronychia develops within hours to days and when treated early in its stage can be cured very effectively with homoeopathic medicines which also prevents any further spread or recurrence of this infection. Acute paronychia responds beautifully to homoeopathic treatment. Where as chronic paronychia is stubborn and to be treated effectively requires one to follow the necessity preventive measures and take homoeopathic treatment regularly to get rid of this disease. In case of persons suffering with diabetes it is important to control the sugar levels to stop the paronychia from reoccurring. Our doctors at BEING WELL HOMOEOPATHY are diligent and treat the person as whole by giving individualized homoeopathic treatment to each of our patients. This individualized homoeopathic treatment helps the body fight back any infection in a faster and more efficient way and builds one’s immunity against any future infections. For more help regarding paronychia and any other skin infections contact us at –