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What is paronychia? — Paronychia is a skin infection that happens around the fingernails or toenails.
You are more likely to get to get this infection if you:
Push down or trim the skin at the base of the nail (called the "cuticle").
Bite your nails.
Suck your thumb or finger.
People who have jobs that make them keep their hands in water a lot are also more likely to get paronychia.
What are the symptoms of paronychia? — Symptoms include:
A painful, red, swollen area around the nail
Pus-filled blisters near the nail
Is there a test for paronychia? — No. There is no test. But your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you have it by learning about your symptoms and doing an exam.
Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better? — Yes. Some people feel better if they:
Soak the affected finger or toe in warm water for 20 minutes, 3 times a day.
Put antibiotic cream such as mupirocin (brand name: Bactroban Cream) on the infected area after soaking it.
How is paronychia treated? — If the treatments you have tried on your own don't help, your doctor might give you antibiotics to treat the infection.
If you have a pus-filled blister, he or she might give you a shot to numb your finger or toe and use a needle or sharp tool to open and drain the blister. You will need to soak your finger or toe and take antibiotics after this procedure.
Your doctor might also prescribe other medicines, such as steroids or anti-fungal medicines.
Can paronychia be prevented? — You can reduce your chances of getting paronychia if you:
Push your cuticles down gently and do not trim or cut them.
Wear rubber gloves if you need to put your hands in water.
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 82907 Version 5.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
© 2020 UpToDate, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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