1. Protect Nail
- Do not remove any part of the nail.
- If an artificial nail is on an infected finger, remove it.
2. Reduce Pain and Swelling
For mild nail infection or while waiting to see a doctor:
- Soak the affected foot or hand 2 to 3 times daily in warm water.
- Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment and bandage.
3. When to See a Doctor
Seek medical help as soon as possible if:
- Symptoms don’t improve after 2 to 3 days.
- A pus-filled abscess pocket forms on the side or base of the nail.
- The person has a fever and red streaks around the nail, nail discoloration, or joint or muscle pain.
- The person has diabetes.
4. Follow Up
If you seek medical help:
- The doctor may sample pus or fluid and prescribe an antibiotic or anti-fungal medication.
- If a pus-filled abscess pocket develops, a doctor may need to drain it.