Treating Paronychia at Home

Are you struggling with an uncomfortable, painful paronychia infection? You’re not alone. This article provides tips and remedies for treating your infection from the comfort of your home.

Quick facts: Treating Paronychia At Home

  • ✅ Soaking your hand in warm water for 10-15 minutes 3-4 times a day is the most effective way to treat paronychia at home (Mayo Clinic)
  • ✅ Using a topical antibiotic cream or ointment is necessary to prevent further infection (American Osteopathic College of Dermatology)
  • ✅ Avoiding tight-fitting gloves and keeping your hands dry are important preventative measures (WebMD)
  • ✅ Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce inflammation and pain (Johns Hopkins Medicine)
  • ✅ Applying a bandage over the affected area can help prevent bacteria from entering the wound (Cleveland Clinic)
  • Introduction

    Paronychia is an infection of the skin around the nail beds and typically occurs when bacteria enters the area through a cut or tear in the skin. This can happen when nails are trimmed too closely or often, when hands are constantly exposed to water, or if the person has an immune system disorder. It’s important to note that while paronychia is not life threatening, it can cause discomfort and pain if not treated properly.

    Treating paronychia at home is possible with some simple steps that include:

    • Increasing finger hygiene
    • Treating any existing infections with antibiotics
    • Taking steps to reduce inflammation

    In more severe cases, medical advice should be sought from a professional healthcare provider in order to prevent further complications from developing. Good hygiene habits and proper cleansing techniques should be implemented in order to prevent reoccurrence of this condition.

    Causes of Paronychia

    Paronychia is an infection of the tissue around the nail. It can be caused by bacteria, fungi, or other irritants. It is most commonly caused by frequent contact with water, detergents, or other irritants. It can also be caused by injuries to the nail such as biting or picking. Paronychia can also be caused by certain medical conditions such as diabetes.

    Let’s take a look at some of the other causes of paronychia:

    Bacterial infection

    Bacterial infection is a common cause of paronychia. This can occur when bacteria enter the skin through a cut or abrasion near or around the nail bed. Bacteria in this area thrive because of the warm, damp environment created by the proximity to a person’s body heat, moisture from skin and sweat, and warmth from clothing.

    Common bacteria associated with paronychia include: staphylococcus, streptococcus, pseudomonas and Proteus species.

    In some cases, bacterial infection can be combined with a fungal infection which can make it difficult to treat paronychia at home successfully. Therefore if signs of an infection persist after home treatment has been attempted, it is important to see a doctor as they may need to prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medication to clear up the infection fully.

    Fungal infection

    Fungal infection is the most common cause of paronychia. Fungi, such as yeast and molds, can be found naturally in the environment and can enter the body through cuts or weak spots in the skin. These fungi can then multiply in warm, moist environments like the area around your nails.

    Risk factors for a fungal paronychia include:

    • Increasing age
    • Poor hygiene habits
    • Having an underlying medical condition that compromises immunity
    • Nail biting
    • Manicures that involve cutting cuticles or pushing back cuticles too far

    Treatment for a fungal paronychia usually involves antifungal medications such as terbinafine (Lamisil), itraconazole (Sporanox) and fluconazole (Diflucan).

    Mechanical trauma

    Paronychia is an infection of the finger or toe that can cause redness, swelling, and pain. Mechanical trauma is one of the most common causes of paronychia. Oftentimes this type of trauma occurs when the person engages in activities such as picking or pulling off a hangnail, repetitively biting their nails, heavy manual labour involving gripping tools or material, wearing tight-fitting shoes or boots which exert pressure on the skin around the nail. Additionally, inadequate cleaning and trimming of nails can contribute to this type of trauma.

    Therefore it is important to make sure to follow proper nail care habits and take extra precautions with any activities that may cause mechanical trauma to the skin around your nail.

    Symptoms of Paronychia

    Paronychia is an infection of the skin around the fingernails or toenails. It is very common and can occur in people of all ages. Some of the most common symptoms of paronychia include redness and swelling around the nail bed, as well as pain and tenderness. The affected area may also be warm to the touch and draining pus.

    Let’s look at some other symptoms of paronychia:


    Swelling is one of the most common symptoms of paronychia, and can occur in both acute and chronic cases.

    Acute paronychia will usually present itself with an accumulation of pus, signs of inflammation such as redness or tenderness at the site of infection, and pain, which may be mild or quite severe. In addition, the nail bed may be swollen due to the accumulation of fluid underneath which results from infection.

    Chronic paronychia can result in swelling along with other symptoms such as nail discoloration, splitting nails along with ridges, and a musty odor. It is important to seek out medical attention if any signs or symptoms persist even after attempting at-home treatments as this may be indicative of a more serious condition.


    Redness is one of the primary symptoms of paronychia. This redness will slowly progress from the sides of a nail to the center and may be accompanied by tenderness, heat, and swelling. As this infection progresses, it will cause further inflammation and may even start to ooze pus. The area surrounding the nail may become hard and painful to touch. As the infection worsens, red streaks can extend up from the nail into other areas of skin.

    Redness is a classic symptom of any bacterial or fungal infection and should always be addressed as soon as possible.


    Pain is the most common symptom of paronychia. Depending on the severity of the infection, it can cause mild to excruciating pain when pressure is applied to the infected area. In more severe cases, there may be swelling and redness around the finger or toe. There might also be pus or liquid discharge from the infected nail.

    Pain can be felt in nearby areas such as the wrist, palm side of hand or top of foot or toes, as well as in other parts of the body associated with these regions. Additionally, individuals may experience difficulty when performing certain activities such as:

    • typing on a keyboard
    • putting on shoes

    due to pain and stiffness in their hand or foot.


    The most obvious symptom of paronychia is a swelling or infection that appears around the nails, which may be accompanied by pus. Pus is typically caused by a bacterial infection and can present as a yellowish-white substance that has a certain consistency to it. In some cases, the pus may even have an odor to it. Other symptoms include redness, pain and tenderness around the affected nail, as well as difficulty moving or flexing the area due to stiffness or discomfort.

    If left untreated, paronychia can lead to serious complications such as an abscess or gangrene and may also spread to other areas of the body.

    Treatments for Paronychia

    Paronychia is a bacterial or fungal infection of the skin around the fingernails or toenails. It can range in severity, from mild to severe, depending on the underlying cause. Treatment for paronychia includes a combination of home remedies and medical interventions.

    Let’s explore the possible treatments for paronychia:

    Home remedies

    Home remedies for paronychia usually involve soaking the affected area in warm water to reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process. Other treatments may include over-the-counter topical medications such as ibuprofen, antibiotics, or corticosteroids. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic.

    Home remedies are often used to treat minor forms of paronychia but severe infections may require medical attention.

    When treating paronychia at home, it is important to keep the affected area clean and dry and to wear latex gloves when cleaning or handling contaminated objects. Additionally, avoiding activities that could potentially irritate the nails such as manicures and pedicures can help prevent flare-ups of paronychia. If home remedies do not seem to be helping, seek medical attention immediately to prevent any further complications or spread of infection.

    Soak the affected area

    Soaking the affected area in warm, soapy water is one of the most common treatments for paronychia. This helps to soften and loosen the skin around the nail, which will help reduce swelling. The individual should submerge their finger or toe in warm water for 10-15 minutes at a time, three to four times a day. After soaking, they should gently pat it dry and apply an over-the-counter topical steroid cream as directed until symptoms improve.

    It is also important for individuals to keep their nails trimmed short and make sure that any nail care products do not come into contact with the affected area as this may cause further irritation. Similarly, wearing tight shoes or other items that put pressure on the affected area should be avoided if possible.

    Apply a warm compress

    Applying a warm compress to the infected finger is an easy and effective way to help treat paronychia at home. To do this, soak a cotton ball or piece of clean cloth in warm water and place it over the affected area for up to 15 minutes at a time, several times a day. The warmth will help reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation.

    Compresses should be done for at least 5-7 days, until symptoms have significantly improved.

    It’s important to keep the compress clean by:

    • changing out the water frequently
    • not reusing old water or materials that may have been contaminated with bacteria
    • wearing gloves or washing hands thoroughly before and after each application

    Apply an antiseptic

    Applying an antiseptic to the affected area of the skin can help to speed up the healing process and reduce any itching and inflammation. You can use antiseptic ointment, creams, or medicated soaks to treat paronychia. An antibiotic ointment like bacitracin or mupirocin is usually necessary for bacterial infections; these ointments should be applied several times a day. Be sure to wash your hands after applying any antiseptic treatment.

    Also, avoid dressing the area with tight-fitting clothes or using topical steroids as these may worsen the infection. Finally, if there is pus present in the wound, you may need to take antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor in order for it to heal properly.

    Apply a topical antibiotic

    Applying a topical antibiotic is an effective way to treat paronychia at home. Popular options include bacitracin, polymyxin B, and mupirocin. These antibiotics are available over-the-counter in most drug stores. Simply apply the ointment or cream to the affected area throughout the day until the infection heals.

    It’s important to note that topical antibiotics won’t completely heal your infection overnight; paronychia can take several days to heal. Additionally, keep in mind that if your infection doesn’t start healing within a few days of treatment, you should see your doctor for further evaluation and treatment.

    Medical treatments

    Medical treatments for paronychia typically involve the use of a topical medication known as an “antibiotic” or “antifungal.” These medications can be applied directly to the affected area and may help reduce inflammation and infection. In extreme cases, oral antibiotics may be prescribed. In addition to topical antibiotics, doctors may also prescribe pain medications if necessary to reduce pain and discomfort associated with the condition.

    It is important to follow instructions provided by your doctor precisely, as failure to do so could worsen the condition. If a medical treatment fails, or if bacterial or fungal infection develops, surgery may be recommended in some cases. Surgery involves removing any infected tissue surrounding the nail bed and clipping off any diseased portions of the nail in order to promote healing.

    Oral antibiotics

    Oral antibiotics may be prescribed to treat Paronychia. These antibiotics may be taken in pill form or as a topical ointment. Oral antibiotics work by killing the bacteria that have caused an infection of the nail fold. Commonly prescribed antibiotics to treat Paronychia are Cephalosporins, Amikacin, and Clindamycin. Your doctor will prescribe the correct antibiotic based on the severity and extent of your infection. You can also try treating parvo at home, if the infection is mild.

    Oral antibiotics can take between 7-14 days to take effect, so they must be taken as directed for maximum effectiveness. It is important to take all of your medications as prescribed and contact your doctor if you experience any adverse side effects from taking the medication.

    Topical antifungal medications

    Topical antifungal medications are a popular treatment option for paronychia caused by fungal infections. These topical medications will often have active ingredients such as miconazole, clotrimazole, or butenafine hydrochloride.

    Regular use of antifungal creams can help prevent the recurrence of paronychia and reduce the risk of further infection. Antifungal creams must be applied directly to the affected area for at least two weeks and can be used in conjunction with warm compresses to aid healing.

    When using antifungal creams, it is important to make sure that the cream completely covers all areas of affected skin so that no bacteria or fungi are left behind to cause further infection. Additionally, one should avoid scratching or picking at any affected areas as this can worsen the condition.


    In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat paronychia. This would generally involve incising the skin around the nail and draining any pus that has accumulated. Surgery is recommended for very severe cases of paronychia (when antibiotics have not worked) or for recurrent infections. Surgery may also be necessary if an abscess forms under the nail, which needs to be drained in order to prevent the infection from spreading further.

    As it is a surgical procedure, local anaesthetic will need to be used and a person will require some time off work while they recover. Additionally, there is a risk of scarring and permanent damage being done to the nail due to infection, so it should only be used as a last resort.

    Prevention of Paronychia

    Prevention is the best treatment for paronychia. Taking steps such as keeping your hands and nails clean and dry, wearing protective gloves when working with hazardous materials and chemicals, and avoiding activities that can cause trauma or injury to the nail can help prevent paronychia. Other methods such as keeping your nails trimmed and filing down sharp edges can also help.

    Let’s discuss this further:

    Wear gloves when working with chemicals

    Paronychia is an infection of the skin around a fingernail or toenail. It can be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, and allergies.

    To prevent paronychia, it is important to wear gloves when working with chemical products such as household cleaners and detergents. Gloves should also be worn when working with food ingredients and should be changed often between different tasks (e.g., when handling raw poultry one minute and then salad vegetables the next). If you’re washing dishes or cleaning surfaces that could harbor bacteria or fungi—including showers, baths, and toilets—wear gloves during these tasks as well.

    In addition to wearing gloves, it’s also important to avoid nail-biting, picking at nail beds, or cutting your cuticles too deeply. All of these actions can cause tiny cuts in the skin around the nails which can become infected more easily than healthy skin.

    Avoid biting your nails

    Nail biting is a major cause of paronychia, so it’s important to break this habit as soon as possible. Not only will this help to prevent paronychia from developing, but it also helps to improve overall nail health and appearance.

    When trying to break the habit of nail biting, start by shortening your nails and filing them regularly. This can make them less tempting to bite! It’s also important to be aware of situations that may trigger the urge to bite your nails—such as boredom or anxiety—and find healthier ways to cope with those emotions. These could be anything from listening to music or taking a walk outdoors. Finally, make sure you keep your nails and cuticles clean and moisturized; this can help make them less appealing for an impulsive bite!

    Keep your nails trimmed and clean

    One of the most effective ways to prevent paronychia is to keep your fingernails and toenails trimmed and clean. Trimming your nails regularly will reduce the risk of bacteria getting under the nail fold and causing an infection. When trimming, make sure you cut them straight across— don’t round them off at the edges or corners.

    It’s also important to properly clean your fingernails and toenails every day with water, soap, and a soft-bristled brush. This should help reduce irritation caused by dirt or debris collecting under the nail fold. Additionally, it will reduce the risk of bacteria entering through any small cuts in the skin around your nails.


    Paronychia is an infection that can be painful and difficult to treat, but there are many effective treatments available. With proper care and patience, you can heal your paronychia from the comfort of home.

    Some courses of action include:

    • Draining the area of pus
    • Soaking the affected finger or toe in warm water and salt to reduce inflammation
    • Applying topical antibiotics such as polymyxin B or gentamycin to kill bacteria
    • Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce swelling
    • Using a bandage or ointment to cover the infected nail

    Treatment options vary depending on how severe the infection is; so it’s always best to consult a doctor before attempting any type of treatment at home.

    FAQs about: Treating Paronychia At Home

    Q: What is paronychia?

    A: Paronychia is an infection of the skin around a fingernail or toenail. It usually starts off as a red, swollen area around the nail and can progress to an abscess filled with pus.

    Q: How is paronychia typically treated?

    A: Mild cases of paronychia can often be treated with home remedies such as soaking the affected area in warm water and applying an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment. If the infection is more serious, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics or perform minor surgery to drain the abscess.

    Q: What home remedies can be used to treat paronychia?

    A: Home remedies for paronychia include soaking the affected area in warm water several times a day, applying an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment or cream, and keeping the affected area clean and dry. If the infection does not improve, it is important to see a doctor for further treatment.

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