I’m typing this post at a disadvantage. I have a bandaid on my right index finger. Last week it was on my left middle finger. Occasionally I get a paronychia. That’s just a fancy word for a nail bed infection. It happens when you cut a hangnail to the quick and the nicked skin close to the nail gets infected. It’s very painful and if you look on the internet for pictures, they can be pretty gross.
After the first one I thought I should blog about it but got too busy with my Future Health Now modules. When I started to get another one, I decided someone was trying to tell me something!
Here’s the standard treatment on Medscape for acute paronychia from a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic.
1. Warm water soaks of the affected finger 3-4 times per day until symptoms resolve are helpful.
2. Oral antibiotics with gram-positive coverage against S aureus, such as amoxicillin and clavulanic acid (Augmentin) or clindamycin (Cleocin), are usually administered concomitantly with warm water soaks. Cleocin and Augmentin also have anaerobic activity; therefore, they are useful in treating patients with paronychia due to oral anaerobes contracted through nail biting or finger sucking. Cleocin should be used instead of Augmentin in patients who are allergic to penicillin.
3. If the paronychia does not resolve or if it progresses to an abscess, it should be drained promptly. (Draining means, cutting into the abscess.)
Sounds like a war zone doesn’t it. When all you really have to do is use a bread poultice or a clay poultice. I used to use bread but since I don’t eat bread anymore, I use clay. Either works but clay is less messy and had more advantages.
At the first sign of redness or sensitivity or pain around your nail bed wet an inch square of any type of bread and tape it on the area. Use several bandaids or medical tape from the drug store. If you have clay on hand, mix 1/8th tsp with a few drops of water to make a paste and put an amount the size of a pea on the area and cover with a bandaid.
You can do the treatment at night and in the morning the infection is either gone or has come to a head. With a sterile needle (boiled for 15 min in water) you may be able to pop the skin and squeeze out the pus. Then put another poultice of clay on the area to complete the treatment.
Bread is just going to soften the area and bring the infection to a head but clay will draw out the toxins at the same time. That’s much different than attacking the whole body with antibiotics hoping they are smart enough to target your finger. But they are not. I’ve said before and I’ll say it against, antibiotics are stupid drugs and kill everything in sight. They might not even get to the bacteria causing your infection because all the swelling cuts off the circulation.
The clay I use and recommend is LL’s Magnetic Clay which I talk about all the time for gentle detoxification, treating acne and other skin conditions. Now you can add paronychia to the list.
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
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