What Are Some Ways to Treat an Infection Around a Fingernail?


Quick Answer

Protecting the nail and taking steps to reduce pain and swelling are treatment methods for nail infection, or paronychia, according to WebMD. Diabetic patients should visit a physician; patients should also seek medical advice if symptoms are slow to improve, a pus-filled abscess appears near the nail, the patient has fever and red streaks around the nail or other discoloration, or if the patient has joint or muscle pain.

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Full Answer

To reduce pain and inflammation, a patient can soak the affected finger or toe in warm water several times daily and apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment and bandage, writes WebMD. The patient should not attempt to remove any part of the nail, though she should discard artificial nails on the infected site. A doctor drains the pus if it accumulates, and in doing so, he may remove a small part of the nail to ensure that the area drains completely, according to Drugs.com.

If the infection is chronic, fungi is the likely cause, states Drugs.com. The doctor may prescribe topical antifungal medication, such as clotrimazole or ketoconazole, which the patient must apply daily for several weeks. During this period, the patient must keep the skin clean and dry. In severe cases, a doctor may prescribe oral antifungal drugs or steroids.

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