■ What is the felon?
Popularly known as felon to a process that, in medicine is called paronychia. It is an infection of the area bordering the nail, but when it reaches deeper may affect the fingertip.
■ Why should this infection so upset?
It is usually caused by a common bacterium called Staphylococcus, although it can also be caused by fungi. Whitlow occurs because there is a previous injury to the lining of the nail, known as the cuticle. This layer protects the skin from friction with the nail. Humidity, soapy products and small wounds are factors that can damage the cuticle and, therefore, promote the cause of the infection.
■ If the finger swells means there are a felon?
Probably so. The main symptoms are swelling and pain. In chronic cases, ie where the felon does not just heal and the symptoms recur, the nail is deformed and loses the color of their edges. Paronychia causes intense pain that increases when you press on the toe.
■ Is it easy to heal?
If the infection is recent, often resolved by applying warm moist compresses, rest and elevation of the affected finger. As this is an infectious process, if necessary resort to a more complete treatment is given antibiotics, either locally or via general. If still no obvious improvement occurs in 24 to 48 hours, it is necessary to have surgery to remove the nail and thoroughly clean the area.
■ Does this mean that can cause complications?
If not treated properly can be complicated so the infection spreads to deeper areas. In this case, the swelling goes sometimes collapsing the blood vessels supplying the final part of the bone, making it originates necrosis, a process that will degrade the bone. It is also possible that it could spread to the tendons or other surrounding areas. In this case, it is essential for a quick surgical operation which usually requires general anesthesia.
3 tips to prevent felons:
1 - First place, especially in boys, avoid his finger to his mouth constantly. Those who have this bad habit are likely to be felons, because the continuous contact with saliva causes a softening of the nail bed, thereby reducing their ability to protect against infections.
2 - The wet environment on the other hand, it facilitates the spread of germs like staph, that by lowering the defenses of the advantage to attack zone.
3 - Another essential care is to cut your fingernails, but not exaggerated. The edge of the nail should protrude a little from the area that meets the finger and the side edges must be cut to just below the level of the fingertip. If you cut more deeply, to grow embedded in the fleshy portion of the finger.