Infections of the hand can range in seriousness from relatively minor to severe. They are most commonly suffered in the fingertips in the form of a pus-filled infection that keeps the finger from bending down all the way. If an infection of the finger is not taken care of in a timely manner, it can lead to a spread in the infection or even loss of the finger.
Common Types of Hand Infections
The most common kind of infections of the hand takes place in the fingertips, usually along the edges of the fingernail, and is called a paronychia infection. Paronychia infections often start slowly and build up to full-blown infections over the course of two to three days. Symptoms begin with redness and a slightly painful itchiness in the area as well as swelling. As the days go by, the swelling will become worse and there might be a greenish or yellowish bump in the skin on the side of the fingernail. This is the most common type of hand infection caused by bacteria.
Felon infections are somewhat similar to paronychia infections. The fingertips will hurt quite a bit and become swollen. As the swelling gets worse, the skin outside the infection will harden and become painful to the touch. Usually, there is a collection of pus on the bottom palm side of the finger. This pus is usually removed the same way as with paronychia infections. Whether the infection is caused by bacteria or a virus, the treatment for these kinds of infections are almost the same.
Treatment for Pus-Filled Infections of the Hand
In the case of a pus-filled infection like a paronychia infection, the most important part of treatment is to drain the pus in order to stifle the infection. The finger is irrigated with a special solution in order to remove the debris and keep the infection from progressing. The wound is wiped clean with alcohol pads and a topical antibiotic is applied to the wound and, most often, prescribed as well.
Complications Caused by Hand Infections
When the cause of the infection in a hand is not known, lab tests may be necessary to find the cause. Sometimes infections of the hand that tend to recur or move to different regions of the hand might be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.
Some people with pre-existing conditions such as those with a weak immune system, diabetes and peripheral arterial disease should get medical attention as soon as possible at the first sign of an infection in the hand. These health conditions might make the infection very serious, causing it to spread to other areas of the body.
At Arora Hand Surgery, we are proud to diagnose and treat various infections of the hand. If you suspect that you have an infection, contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in Livonia or Southfield!