What Do We Treat?
Paronychia is an infection around the nail. Many organisms, including the yeast-like organism Candida, can cause a paronychia. Symptoms include inflammation at the base of the nail and changes in the nail itself. In treating bacterial paronychia, hot water soaks 2 or 3 times per day reduce inflammation and pain, and we may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics. In severe cases, we may have to cut and drain the lesion. To treat fungal paronychia, we may prescribe a topical or oral antifungal.
Fungal nail infections (onychomycosis) are most often seen in adults. They often follow fungal infection of the feet, like athlete’s foot. Fungal nail infections may be difficult to treat and may recur often. Toenails are affected more often than fingernails. If you frequent public swimming pools, gyms, or shower rooms, or perspire a great deal, you may be more susceptible to mold-like infections because the fungi that cause them thrive in warm, moist areas. The risk of getting a fungal infection is increased by closed-in footwear, prolonged moist skin, and minor skin or nail injuries.
Creams and ointments are generally no help in treating onychomycosis. We will usually prescribe oral medications to be taken for several months. While these medicines may clear the fungus in about half of all patients, they can cause numerous side effects. You may not be able to take these medications because of other medications you are taking, or other medical problems. Nails grow slowly, so even if treatment is successful, a new, clearer nail may take up to one year to replace the old nail.