A fingernail infection is an infection at the base of the fingernail caused by bacteria or yeast.
Your child will probably have:
If the cuticle has a large pimple or is draining pus, it is usually infected with the Staphylococcus bacteria. The bacteria usually enters the skin through a break in the skin caused by pulling on or chewing on the cuticle. If the cuticle area is only red and swollen without pus, it is usually due to Candida (yeast). Yeast infections usually occur in children that suck their thumb or finger, bite their nails, swim a lot, or have waterlogged cuticles from other activities.
With proper treatment, this infection should clear up in 7 days. If not, your doctor will probably prescribe an oral antibiotic.
If the cause is bacteria, soak the infected finger 3 times a day for 15 minutes in warm water and liquid antibacterial soap. Do this for 4 days, or longer if the wound has not healed.
Buy an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment. Apply the ointment 4 times a day. Cover it with an adhesive bandage. Continue to apply the antibiotic ointment until no signs of infection remain. Sometimes your healthcare provider may prescribe an antibiotic pill.
Any visible pus pocket needs to be opened and drained. If it’s a small pimple, you can do it using a needle sterilized with rubbing alcohol or a flame. Make an opening where the pus pocket joins with the nail. If the pus doesn't run out, gently squeeze the pus pocket. If the pus pocket is large or spreading, have your healthcare provider drain it.
For yeast infections apply Lotrimin cream or ointment (no prescription needed) 3 times daily. Also, keep the area dry. Do not cover it with a bandage.
Discourage any picking or chewing of hangnails (loose pieces of cuticle). Instead, cut these off with nail clippers.
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