We refer to a cuticle infection when the skin around your nail is red and infected. This can happen to both your fingernails and toenails. The latter may be connected to an ingrown toenail. A cuticle infection is caused by damage to your skin. This allows bacteria to easily enter your skin and start multiplying. This is how your skin becomes infected. In most cases, the staphylococcus bacteria is the culprit.
If your cuticle is infected, you may experience:
- A yellowish tense and transparent skin. Pus can also be seeping from this.
- Red skin around your nail.
- Glowing skin around your nail.
- Swollen skin around your nail.
- Sore skin around your nail.
There are a number of things you can do to help your infection heal. For example, we recommend that you:
- Regularly wash your hands and feet.
- Don’t touch your cuticle and the skin around it.
- Handle your nail(s) carefully. Avoid further damage to your nail(s) and/or the skin around it.
- Use your own clean towel every day.
- Use a plaster or bandage if pus is coming out of the infection.
The best thing you can do is prevent a cuticle infection. You can do this by:
- Regularly trimming your nails. Not cutting them too short, as this can also damage your skin.
- Not biting your nails. If you have trouble with this, you can buy remedies from your chemist which will prevent nail biting. Obtain advice about these products if necessary.
- Not picking or pulling at your nails.
- Not sucking your fingers.
- Wearing spacious and appropriate shoes.
- Carefully drying your feet after showering or bathing.
- Regularly airing your feet.
- Wearing open shoes in warm weather.
- Putting on clean, dry and cotton socks every day.
Do you work in healthcare, catering or the food industry? Then it’s a good idea to contact your company doctor. He or she can provide you with advice regarding the hygiene measures you should introduce.
You should make an appointment with your GP immediately if:
- The infection extends beyond your cuticle. Then you may be suffering from whitlow.
- The infection doesn’t improve after following the above advice.
- There is pus in your cuticle which doesn’t run out. If necessary, your GP will make an incision in your cuticle so that the pus can drain out and/or prescribe a course of antibiotics.
- Pus is flowing from the infection.
- You’re already taking antibiotics and you don’t notice any change after 2 days.
- You often suffer from a cuticle infection, or you suspect you suffer from it chronically.