It is a paronychia – a type of nail infection. It’s not as serious as a felon, but it still needs treatment to prevent it from getting worse.

If you’ve ever had a hangnail that got infected, you discovered how many nerve endings are in your hand. Hands are used for almost all things and that becomes even more important during disasters.

Fortunately, most hangnails will heal well as long as you keep removing the moisture from the area and keep it clean. But sometimes an infected finger can be serious, which means that you should see a doctor.

Watch out for infections if you cut yourself. They can get into tendon in your hand and be quite dangerous. People often get infections of their fingers from a wound. The worst consequence is a type of infection called a felon. It can cut off circulation and even lead to losing your finger if it goes untreated.

Here are some tips to help you feel more confident about your situation. We’ll walk you through potential options and provide feasible steps for taking them.

Paronychia: An Infection Around the Fingernail

It’s not uncommon for people to develop infections in their fingers near the cuticle, which is sometimes simply called paronychia (a word that probably comes from Greek and means “around the nail.”) Fungal infections tend to occur there. In response, treat a bacterial infection with an antibiotic ointment or soap and water.

  1. To treat your infected hangnail, use warm soaks. Dip the tip in hot water or use a cloth that’s been warmed up in the microwave. Perform this treatment for ten to twenty minutes at a time.

  2. Cover with an adhesive bandage if you bump it, wear gloves when handling it, and use a stick to splint if needed.

  3. Within a day of heat exposure, if the burn has not improved it will either heal or worsen. If burns worsen, the area around a fingernail will become red and a small white spot may form within 24 hours.

  4. Sterilize a sharp object by holding the tip of it under the flame until it’s red. Or at least dip the tip in alcohol.

  5. The white spot on your cheek may signal an infection, which you can release by lightly pricking it with a needle. You don’t need to give the infection deep access to your cheek. It’s only prudent if the white spot is present to release any pus that might be there before it spreads and causes even more issues.

  6. Apply antibiotic ointment or honey (not for babies) and an adhesive bandage. It should be healed in another day, in around one more day.

  7. If this doesn’t do it, start oral antibiotics, if available.

Pretty easy stuff.

Felon: A Serious Infection in the Fingertip Pad

Some people call this a “rare” type of fungal infection. Rarer is the more serious version where the infection has spread to your fingertips and starts to affect your circulation. If this happens, you could lose a finger or get an infection that spreads into your hand or wrist, leading to really significant injuries.

To treat a felon:

  1. Get to a doctor as soon as possible if you think someone might have this. They’ll need to open them up and cut down to the fingertip pad so it can release pressure.

  2. Until you can get expert treatment, start oral antibiotics.

  3. Elevate the finger about at your heart level.

  4. Warm soaks are worth a try.

Something like a felon is an herpes whitlow. Caused by herpes and recurrent like herpetic strep, this inflammatory infection cause painful blisters to form on the fingers or hands before eventually remedying itself. Treatment of whitlow is generally more straightforward than for a felon. If found early, prescription antibiotics may shorten the course of the illness.

Unless you’ve had a white-spot in the past, it’ll be hard to tell the difference between that and felon. If you can’t get see a doctor, I’d recommend treating it like a felon.

Photo credit: Veronica Belmont

Similar Posts