Different types of paronychia treatment include soaking the affected nail in water, taking medications, and draining the area of pus. Surgery is also an option, but only in severe cases. Paronychia itself is a common medical condition in which skin infection and inflammation occur around the nails. Causes of paronychia include trauma, bacteria and fungus. The type of paronychia treatment that an affected person might undergo depends on the cause of the infection, as well as whether the condition is acute or chronic.
Acute bacterial paronychia is often treated by soaking the nail in a mixture of just water, or half water and half antibacterial soap. The nail should soak between two and four times a day, approximately 15 minutes each. Usually, a mild, acute case of bacterial paronychia will only last for about 10 days.
If an acute bacterial paronychia infection does not respond to warm soaking, a doctor might prescribe antibiotics. This medication helps eliminate the bacterial infection causing either acute or chronic paronychia. For chronic paronychia, a bacterial infection can last for weeks, so the patient might have to take antibiotics for this amount of time.
Chronic paronychia can also occur as a result of fungal infection. In this case, the best paronychia treatment is antifungal medication, which will kill the fungus causing the infection. The patient applies the medication onto the affected area, making sure to keep the area clean and dry otherwise. If the paronychia is caused by fungi, the infection can last for months.
In addition to soaking the nail in water or taking medication, another type of paronychia treatment is draining an abscess. The doctor will numb the area and then use a scalpel to cut and drain the pus; in some instances, he might also remove part of the nail. This type of treatment usually takes place in severe cases and can accompany other types of treatment.
With early and proper treatment, paronychia often has a good chance of healing. Complications, such as permanent change or damage to the nail, can occur, though. To prevent paronychia from occurring in the first place, an individual can protect his nails by keeping them clean, dry, and away from chemicals. In addition, he should avoid biting or picking at his nails and pulling or tearing at the cuticles. Another good prevention tip is to avoid injury, as this can cause an infection, which can then lead to paronychia.