crsheader Index Spanish version Fingernail Infection: Brief Version

What is a fingernail infection?

When your child has a fingernail infection, you usually see:

  • a large pimple where the cuticle and the fingernail meet
  • redness and tenderness around this area
  • sometimes, pus may drain from this area, too.

The infection can be caused by bacteria or yeast.

How can I take care of my child?

It helps to soak your child’s sore finger in warm water and liquid antibacterial soap.

  • Soak your child’s sore finger 3 times a day for 15 minutes.
  • Do this for at least 4 days, or longer if it has not healed.

If your child has a bacterial infection:

  • Buy antibiotic ointment at the drugstore. Put ointment on the sore area 4 times a day.
  • Cover it with a bandage.

Open any large pimple. Here’s how:

  • Carefully clean a needle with rubbing alcohol or a flame.
  • Gently poke the needle into the large pimple.
  • Let the pus drain out.
  • You may need to gently squeeze so that the pus comes out.

If your child has a yeast infection:

  • Put Lotrimin cream or ointment on the sore 3 times a day.
  • Keep the area dry.
  • Do not cover it with a bandage.

You can help keep your child from getting an infection again:

  • If you notice hangnails, cut them off with nail clippers.
  • Tell your child not to pick or chew at hangnails.

Call your child’s doctor right away if:

  • Your child gets a fever.
  • A red streak spreads beyond the cuticle.

Call your child’s doctor during office hours if:

  • The infection has not gotten better after 48 hours.
  • The infection is not totally cleared up in 7 days.
  • You have other concerns or questions.

Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick”, American Academy of Pediatrics Books. Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2009-06-22
Last reviewed: 2011-06-06 This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. Pediatric Advisor 2011.4 Index
© 2011 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.