'Kuzhinakham' aka paronychia infection around cuticles: How to treat it?

In some people, paronychia may lead to puss-filled abscesses and fungal infection too. Photo: iStock/Irina Tiumentseva

Paronychia (kuzhinakham) is a bacterial or fungal infection of the skin around the fingernails or toenails. This happens when the bacteria get into the skin through the cuticles or nail folds, causing inflammation and pain. Change in colour and severe pain in the cuticles of the infected nails are the main symptoms of paronychia. Wearing tight footwear or lack of proper nail care may be the reasons for bacterial infection. So, make sure to clean the edges of the nail regularly using a soft brush. You could also try pedicures at regular intervals to keep the nails clean and healthy.

In some people, paronychia may lead to puss-filled abscesses and fungal infection too. Do not hesitate to consult a surgeon if you notice these symptoms. The doctor may suggest medication in the beginning. When the puss recedes, the ingrown nail would be removed surgically after administering a local anaesthesia. This may be the only treatment for paronychia in some people. Meanwhile, the patient must ensure to keep the nails clean and healthy so that they won’t be affected by the condition again.

Home remedies for paronychia
1) Mix raw turmeric with some neem oil and apply on infected nails
2) Inserting the infected toe into a lemon would ease the pain
3) Rub turmeric and aloe vera gel on the infected area and cover with a piece of cotton cloth to prevent paronychia to a certain extent.
4) Do not let dirt accumulate on the cuticles. Nails should be trimmed at proper intervals to avoid paronychia

5) Applying henna on the nails at least once a month would keep away paronychia
6) Massaging the nails with Tulsi-infused oil would prevent nail infections
7) Rubbing lemon juice mixed with white vinegar on nails would get rid of the yellow stain. 

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