Finger infection can be caused by various factors, and most cases are caused by bacteria residing in the skin. Some infections are minor and can be treated using home remedies, while some others develop into more serious cases which require medical attention. In a finger, infection can happens in some areas, but the most frequently affected part is around the nail beds. Despite its small size, finger infection can be disturbing and painful, since we do a lot of movements with it. When treated improperly or carelessly, finger infection can cause complication leading to finger loss.
Draining pus from finger infection
Most infected finger are red, swollen, and can be pus-filled. This pus is a sign that your body reacts to the injury and is combating the causing bacteria. The greenish or yellowish drainage within an infected finger, therefore, contains defeated white blood cells, killed bacteria, and some blood. Hence, it is important to let this pus out to promote wound healing and avoid infection. As long as the infection is minor and you do not suffer from diabetes, you can care for infected finger at home. Draining pus from infected finger can be done through several steps as follow:
- Soak the infected finger in hot water mixed with a teaspoon of salt. This will help the skin to widen and the pores to open, so that draining the pus will be easier. Pat dry the finger once you are done.
- Press the part of pus-filled infection to let the pus out. Do this gently to prevent surrounding tissues from breaking. If you use a needle or sebum extractor to press the wound, makes sure the instruments have been sterilized before using.
- Carefully and slowly drain the pus out and clean any excess with a cotton ball soaked in saline solution. Do not use iodine or peroxide to do this as they might be too harsh for the finger tissues.
- Once you drain all the pus—and blood, if any, wipe the wound using the solution and apply antibiotic ointment.
- Cover the cleaned wound with sterilized gauze to promote faster healing.
- Change the dressing twice a day or anytime you see any leakage.
- This treatment can be used for finger infection caused by Staphylococcus bacteria build up. If you are suffering from finger infection caused by herpes simplex virus—which is signed by small blisters near the site of infection, you are not advised to drain the fluid out of the wound, because the blisters are going to spread very quickly. Instead, directly go to the ER, since herpes-induced finger infection may infect the tendon and be very difficult to treat.
When to seek medical helps
Although small finger infection can be treated at home, and fluid draining is not prohibited, you should be aware of some signs of infection which may develop as the result of improper treatments, such as:
- High fever
- Red, swollen wound and the area around it
- Warm and turning-white wound
- Excruciating pain
- Finger numbness and immobility
Preventions to avoid finger infection
Finger infections is mostly caused by bacteria build up, although some of them can be caused by herpes simplex virus, which commonly cause blisters on the genitals and mouth. To prevent your finger from getting infected, some common sense should be put into account, such as:
- Avoid biting your fingernails. This does not only cause irritation to the nail beds, as you might cut it too short, causing the nail to stuck on the bed. This might cause severe pains and might lead into pus-filled infection. Biting your nails also transfer bacteria from the mouth—which can also be the herpes simplex virus, to the finger.
- Wear gloves every time you have contact with dirt, since the bacteria can be transferred into the nail bed without you noticing.
- Keep the hands clean and wash them thoroughly after having contact with external things. This will kill potential germs.
- Immediately treat any lacerations around the finger. Soak it in saline solution to kill harmful bacteria that might make the wound worse.
- Avoid touching your genitals or mouth when you realize you have got herpes on those body parts.