Finding a burr that spoils the look of your flawless manicure is already not pleasant in itself. And in combination with an infection, it can also be a very dangerous phenomenon! Our topic today is inflamed hangnail.
A burr is a small piece of uneven or torn skin that appears at the very edge of the nail. Hangnail infections are common but, more often than not, are easily treated.
Hangnail inflammation occurs in both adults and children.
How to determine if a burr is infected?
Redness, swelling and pain are potential symptoms of an inflamed hangnail.
Infection occurs when bacteria or fungi enter the skin. An infection that develops between the nail and the skin is called paronychia.
Usually burrs appear on the nails of the hands, but sometimes the toes also suffer from them.
The following symptoms are indicative of a hangnail infection:
- sensation of warmth in the burr area
- slight bleeding
- purulent abscess on the side of the nail
Bacterial infections may show symptoms almost immediately, while fungal infections may appear a little later.
How to treat an infected hangnail
In most cases, infected hangnails are temporary and can be treated at home.
If the burr is inflamed, but there is no strong abscess, it can be treated in the following ways:
- Hand baths. Soak the nail in warm water for at least 15 minutes. You can repeat the procedure up to 4 times a day. This increases blood flow and clears the area.
- Trim the burr. When a burr becomes soft after soaking, trim the edges of the burr so it doesn't snag on anything to reduce the risk of further infection.
- Hydration. Sufficient moisture can prevent the development of new burrs.
- Medicated creams. Applying a small amount of antibiotic or antifungal cream, depending on the cause of the infection, may speed up recovery. A doctor may also recommend topical steroids.
If the finger begins to swell and the burr begins to boil and pus appears, it will most likely need to be removed to stop the infection from spreading. But this procedure should be done exclusively by a medical professional.
Taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs can also help relieve discomfort.
Are there complications from hangnail inflammation, and when should I see a doctor
An infection lasting more than 6 weeks may be a sign of a chronic illness.
Sometimes the infection can spread to the arm or leg. This can be very serious, leading to loss of sensation or movement in the limbs, and may even lead to amputation. Particularly attentive to the inflammation of the hangnail should be people suffering from diabetes or other circulatory disorders.
A healthcare professional can diagnose an infected hangnail even by eye. The doctor may also send a sample to a lab to determine the type of infection.
Moisturizing your hands regularly can help prevent burrs.
To prevent burr infection:
- Do not tear off the burr, as further trauma increases the risk of infection
- Trim burrs with clean nail scissors
- Maintain hand hygiene
- Apply moisturizer regularly
- Don't bite your nails
- Make sure your hands don't stay wet for too long.
- Wear rubber gloves while cleaning
No one is immune from the appearance of burrs, as well as their infection. However, knowing what to do in such a situation, we significantly increase our chances for a speedy recovery and a flawless manicure! Be healthy and beautiful! :)