The paronychia is a superficial infection that affects the soft parts of the fingers.
The cause of the occurrence of a paronychia is the inoculation of a bacterium in the skin, through a skin entryway: a wound, a wound, an insect bite, a bulb ... Most of the time, the germ responsible for the paronychia is staphylococcus aureus, or more rarely a streptococcus. In these cases, we speak of bacterial paronychia.
Having permanent small wounds on the fingers can be a risk factor, so avoid biting your nails and pulling skin and cuticle around your nails, because these micro-wounds are entry possibilities for germs.
Some people are more exposed than others to the risk of developing this type of infection: manual workers, drug addicts ...
Similarly, people with certain immune deficiency (AIDS), or chronic diseases (diabetes) are also at risk. In these cases, the prevention of paronychia is part of the therapeutic education of one's own disease.
Other patients with neurological involvement may be affected by loss of skin sensitivity, and may not feel the pain and symptoms associated with the development of paronychia. If they do not regularly inspect their fingers and toes, they may discover their whitlow too late.
More rarely, paronychia can be caused by the herpes virus. This type of paronychia, known as herpetic whitlow, is usually present for the first time in children with stomatitis, which is manifested by small mouth ulcers similar to canker sores. When a person has this primary infection, putting their fingers in their mouth exposes them to the risk of contamination.
Once contracted, this virus can manifest itself recurrently, always in the same region of the fingers, as for the cold or genital herpes.