What are the best ways to treat and avoid chronic paronychia?
Chronic paronychia is an inflammation of the nail fold. By definition, chronic paronychia occurs when the inflammation persists beyond 6 weeks.
The commonest cause of chronic paronychia is the irritation of the nail fold from contact with:
- Trauma to the nail fold
This disrupts the nail fold and allows bacteria and substances to enter and cause inflammation. Chronic paronychia is often seen in occupations like cleaners, food handlers, and housewives. Chronic paronychia can also be due to underlying medical conditions like psoriasis, fungal and bacterial infection.
The best way to avoid or treat chronic paronychia are:
- Minimize contact with soap, detergents, and irritants
- Wear protective gloves when washing or doing housework
- Use gentle soap-free cleansers when washing hands
- Regular use of hand moisturizers is important.
- Avoid picking and manipulating the nail.
- Avoid manicures.
Medical management of chronic paronychia includes treating the underlying cause. Topical antibiotic or antifungal medication may be needed if there is a bacterial or fungal infection suspected. Topical anti-inflammatory creams may also be prescribed.
Do seek proper medical treatment if the paronychia is persistent and not better with the above measures.
Dr Colin Theng
MBBS, MRCP, MMED (Fam. Med), FAMS
Mount Alvernia Medical Centre D
820 Thomson Road #07-61
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