How to Care for Your Child with Paronychia

This leaflet will provide you with information about Paronychia causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and home care advice.

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What is Paronychia?

Paronychia is a skin infection that happens when germs get under the skin around the fingernails or toenails. This is likely to happen if your child:

  • Push down or trim the skin at the base of the nail.
  • Bite the nails.
  • Suck the thumb or finger.

What are the symptoms of Paronychia?

Symptoms include:

  • A pain, redness, swelling area around the nail
  • Pus-filled blisters near the nail

How is Paronychia diagnosed?

The doctor will ask few questions about your child's health and examine your child. X-ray and blood tests are normally not required

How is Paronychia treated?

Paronychia usually goes away completely with simple intervention:

  • Soak the finger or toe in warm water for 10–20 minutes, three times a day.
  • If liquid drains from the Paronychia after soaking, gently wipe it away.
  • Apply an ointment if your doctor recommended.
  • Your doctor might give you antibiotics to treat the infection If the treatments you have tried on your own didn't help,
  • If you have a pus-filled blister, the doctor may give a shot to numb your child toe or finger and use a needle or sharp tool to drain the blister.

Home care advice

To help prevent another infection:

  • Remind your child to not bite nails or suck on the fingers.
  • Keep your child's nails smooth and not too short. Trim them weekly (monthly for toenails)

When should I seek medical advice?

Seek medical advice if:

  • The Paronychia gets worse.
  • Your child gets a new pus-filled blister around the nail.
  • Your child has a fever, vomiting (throwing up), or chills.
  • There is increased swelling or pain of the finger or toe.