This patient information and photograph on Orlando Paronychia Treatment is provided by John L. Meisenheimer, M.D. a board certified Dermatologist and skin care specialist based in Orlando, Florida. This information is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice or treatment of a dermatologist or other physician.
What is it? A bacterial infection usually located in the skin next to the nail. Redness
swelling and pain are present. A break in the nail/cuticle barrier allows bacteria to enter between the skin and nail to cause infection. If the Paronychia persists, or is frequently recurrent, it may result in changes to the nail.
What causes it? Infection starts when there is a break in the skin/cuticle barrier from some trauma. Trauma can be caused by a torn hangnail, chewing on the cuticles, drying out of the cuticles from frequent hand washings, manicures, or harsh chemicals found in cleaning products. Sometimes fingernails damaged from fungus (Onychomycosis) or other skin diseases may predispose a person to get Paronychia.
Is it dangerous? For the typical healthy person Paronychia is a harmless disorder. It is unrelated to cancer and it does not involve internal organs. You should notify me if a red streak spreads beyond the cuticle, or the finger pad becomes swollen and tender. If the infection has not improved 48 hours after starting medicine or if infection has not cleared after 10 days please contact our office.
Can it be cured? Acute Paronychia can be cleared but recurrences are common. Treatment consists of antibiotics and protection of the nail/cuticle barrier from further trauma. Avoid overexposure to irritating chemicals or water by wearing a protective barrier such as waterproof gloves over a cotton liner, do not chew or pull on cuticles, do not "push" cuticles back or cut them away.
Is it contagious? It is not contagious and you cannot "catch it" from anyone.