How do I treat a cuticle infection?

Cutting nails can cause cuticle infection.

Cuticle infection, or paronychia, is an infection of the skin around the nail bed and can be caused by injury or damage to the nail bed. It is usually characterized by hot, swollen, red skin around the nail, which can also include pus. It can also be accompanied by fever or swelling of the glands, and if this occurs, it is important to see a doctor immediately to treat a systemic infection with antibiotics.

Doing a manicure with dirty tools can cause cuticle infection.

A cuticle infection can be a one-time acute occurrence or it can be a chronic condition that affects more than one nail. The doctor can diagnose a chronic cuticle infection. A common form of cuticle infection is by cutting your nails with dirty tools or cutting your cuticles and causing injury. If you go to a nail salon for a manicure or pedicure, make sure tools like nail clippers and files are sterilized, or just bring your own.

Soaking the cuticle in water and epsom salt can help prolong the infection.

Also, it is often not necessary to cut the cuticles. Instead, simply soften them in warm water or cuticle oil and gently push them back with an orange toothpick. The cuticles will not be cut and left open for viruses and bacteria to enter. If a cuticle cut or infection occurs, wash immediately with soap and water and keep the area clean. Remember never to bite your nails or any hangnails; instead, cut them carefully.

Wear a pair of socks to keep your feet dry if the cuticle infection is on the foot.

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Applying over-the-counter antibiotic ointment can be effective in treating a minor cuticle infection. In addition, it is often recommended to soak the cuticle infection in a small bath of warm water and Epsom salt for approximately 20 minutes a day in order to prolong the infection. Then dry your nails well and if the cuticle becomes infected on your foot, apply clean cotton socks and keep your feet dry.

An antibiotic ointment should be applied to treat a minor cuticle infection.

With this treatment, the infection should start to clear up within a few days. If it doesn’t, or seems to get worse, you’ll need to see a doctor for antibiotics. These antibiotics can be a cream or an oral antibiotic; no matter what the doctor prescribes, it is necessary to complete the entire dose to treat the infection and prevent it from recurring or becoming chronic. In the future, do your best to keep your nails clean and dry and your cuticles free of cuts or bruises.

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