How To Prevent Paronychia in Your Child: Tips and Tricks

close-up of three of a small child's fingers, one of which shows signs of a bacterial infection around the nail bed

Paronychia is an infection of the skin around the nails. It is often painful and can be quite distressing for children. To ensure your little one has healthy, happy fingers and toes, read on to learn how to prevent paronychia in your child.

Understand What Causes Paronychia

The first step in preventing paronychia is understanding its causes. Typically, this infection results from bacteria or fungi getting under the skin around the nails, often through a small cut or break. Thumb-sucking can also cause paronychia because of how it introduces bacteria to the area. Kids are especially prone to paronychia because they’re always exploring, which means their hands often come into contact with dirt and germs.

Therefore, teach your kid about why they should wash their hands, and help them do so regularly. This is especially important before meals and after playing outside.

Keep Your Kid’s Nails Short and Clean

Another effective way to prevent paronychia is by keeping your child’s nails short and clean. Long nails can harbor dirt and bacteria, creating suitable grounds for infection. Encourage the habit of regular nail trimming, making sure you cut straight across to avoid ingrown nails. Additionally, discourage your child from biting or picking at their nails and cuticles, as well as sucking their thumb, as this can create small tears that are perfect for bacteria to enter.

Moisturize Your Child’s Hands

Children’s skin can be sensitive, and dry, cracked skin around the nails is an open invitation for pathogens. Make it a routine to moisturize your child’s hands, especially after washing them. Use a gentle, child-friendly moisturizer to keep the skin around the nails supple and intact. When the weather is cold, ensure your child wears gloves to protect their hands from getting dry.

Be Proactive With Minor Injuries

Even with the best precautions, kids will sometimes get small cuts or scrapes around their nails. When this happens, just clean the area and apply a small amount of antiseptic cream. This helps to prevent bacteria or fungi from establishing an infection. Keeping a small first aid kit handy when your kids are playing outside can make this process easier.

You can do your best to prevent paronychia in your child with these tips. Ultimately, a little precaution goes a long way in ensuring your child’s hands and feet remain healthy and infection-free.

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