When To Use Antibiotics
Antibiotics are specific for the type of bacteria being treated and, in general, cannot be interchanged from one infection to another. When antibiotics are used correctly, they are usually safe with few side effects. Health care providers are able to assess each patient individually to determine the correct antibiotic, dose and length of treatment.
However, as with most drugs, antibiotics can lead to side effects that may range from being a nuisance to serious or life-threatening. In infants and the elderly, in patients with kidney or liver disease, in pregnant or breastfeeding women, and in many other patient groups, antibiotic doses may need to be adjusted based upon the individual patient. Drug interactions can also be common with antibiotics.
What Is The Best Thing To Soak An Infected Finger In
As finger infections tend to become more severe, there is limited scope for home remedies. A slight infection of the finger can be managed at home if the person does not have any underlying medical condition like diabetes. For other infections, seek immediate medical care to avoid disability or loss of the finger.
A simple infection of the finger can be treated by soaking it in:
- A mixture of pre-boiled warm water with antibacterial soap for 15 minutes, two to four times a day
- Water with Epsom salt to soothe the area and provide pain relief
- Apple cider vinegar because it has antibacterial and antifungal properties
- An antiseptic solution of warm water
However, if you do not find any improvement, then consult a physician without delay.
You can take care of an infected finger by following these instructions from the doctor:
- Wash the finger with clean water two times a day. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol.
- Next, cover the area with a thin layer of antiseptic ointment and a bandage.
- Take the antibiotics as prescribed. Complete the course of antibiotics even if you feel better.
- Take over the counter painkillers if required. However, do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless prescribed by the physician.
- Apply a warm compress or warm cloth on the infected finger.
- Elevate the infected finger above the level of the heart to reduce pain and swelling.
Are There Any Over
Over-the-counter oral antibiotics are not approved in the U.S. A bacterial infection is best treated with a prescription antibiotic that is specific for the type of bacteria causing the infection. Using a specific antibiotic will increase the chances that the infection is cured and help to prevent antibiotic resistance. In addition, a lab culture may need to be performed to pinpoint the bacteria and to help select the best antibiotic. Taking the wrong antibiotic — or not enough — may worsen the infection and prevent the antibiotic from working the next time.
There are a few over-the-counter topical antibiotics that can be used on the skin. Some products treat or prevent minor cuts, scrapes or burns on the skin that may get infected with bacteria. These are available in creams, ointments, and even sprays.
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How Long Do I Need To Take Antibiotics To Treat A Uti
How long you take antibiotics for a UTI depends on how severe your UTI is and which antibiotic youre prescribed. Some medications like fosfomycin only require one dose, while a more severe UTI might require 14 days or more of treatment. Most require 3 to 7 days of treatment.
Within the first 1 to 2 days of starting your antibiotics, youll probably notice your UTI symptoms start to fade away. If your UTI is more severe or youve had symptoms for a while before starting antibiotics, it might take a few more days for you to notice improvement.
In any case, its important to take all the antibiotics youre prescribed, even if you start feeling better before finishing them. Stopping antibiotics early can lead to antibiotic resistance, which means the medication might not work as well as it should if you need it to treat an infection in the future. It can also mean your UTI might come back if you havent treated it completely.
Whether You Actually Need Antibiotics
Ultimately the most important question everyone should ask is: Do you really need a course of antibiotics to treat your infection?
Generally speaking, you do not need an antibiotic every time you have an infection or might have an infection. They are not there to take “just in case” or to save for another occasion if you cut your treatment short. Both are bad ideas. Antibiotics do not work for colds or most upper respiratory infections.
Focus instead on avoiding infections by following three simple tips:
- Get vaccinated for both bacterial and viral infections. Speak with your healthcare provider about which ones you need or are missing.
- Wash your hands. This is not about being germ-phobic. It’s about understanding that your hands are among the most effective vectors of infection. Wash thoroughly, ideally with an antibacterial wash, whenever you are in a public place where you might pick up a bug.
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze or a cough. Try to avoid doing so into your hands as this can spread an infection to others. Instead, use a tissue or the crook of your elbow. If in a confined space such as an airplane, consider wearing a disposable mask if you are ill or at risk of infection.
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What Can I Expect If I Have This Condition
In the early stages of an infection, your healthcare provider can usually treat a felon finger infection with antibiotics. They’ll instruct you to soak your finger in warm water and keep it elevated. In later stages of an infection, an abscess can form and your healthcare provider may need to drain the felon. Its important to see your healthcare provider early. Delayed treatment can lead to long-term complications. However, prompt treatment can lead to a good prognosis.
Antibiotics Recommended For Infected Wounds
An infection is the growth of a parasitic organism, also called a germ, within the body.The onset of an infection is sudden, causing pain and swelling around the wound. Those germs, more commonly bacteria, attach to the tissues preventing the wound from healing.
The bacteria can also enter the blood through the vein and cause a severe infection or sepsis. The antibiotic is chosen based on the bacteria present. Oral antibiotics are taken by mouth, while IV antibiotics are administered through a needle directly into the bloodstream.
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Should I Seek Early Treatment
Yes. In the early stages it can be possible to treat a felon successfully with tablet antibiotics, rest, elevation and immobilisation. Once your pain has become constant and severe it is unlikely that the infection will clear up without surgery and you need to see a surgeon urgently. If you have diabetes or a medical condition that affects your immune system you are at greater risk of a bad infection.
How Common Is Paronychia
Paronychia is a common nail condition. Anyone can get a bacterial nail infection, but its more common among people who:
- Are exposed to irritants: Detergents and other chemicals can irritate the skin and lead to a nail bed infection. People who work with chemicals and dont wear protective gloves have a higher risk.
- Bite their nails or cuticles: Nail biting or picking at the cuticles can create tiny cracks in the nails or cuts in the skin. Bacteria may enter the skin through these small cuts.
- Have certain skin conditions: People who have underlying skin conditions may be more likely develop nail infections.
- Work with water: Bartenders, dishwashers and other people with jobs that require their hands to be wet have a higher risk of developing paronychia.
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Choosing An Antibiotic For Skin Infections
A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine on treatment of skin infections compares treatment with trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole or clindamycin. Surprisingly, both worked equally well in this 524 patient study, curing about 89% of outpatients with uncomplicated skin infections cellulitis and abscesses, so the authors appear to encourage use of one of these drugs because they are better at treating MRSA than are currently recommended antibiotics.
I think this is a bad ideait fuels the escalating use of broader spectrum antibiotics with more side effects, at a time when antibiotic development is languishing. It also encourages the just in case type of response, rather than prescribers actually thinking about what kind of bacterial infection the patient might have. The authors also used a 10-day course of treatment, when expert recommendations are encouraging 5-7 days treatment to try to reduce risks to patients.
Skin infections are a huge problem. They resulted in 14.2 million outpatient visits in 2005 , and 850,000 hospital admissions, according to the article.
While this study adds important information comparing two commonly used drugs for treating skin infection, it should not result in a change in current antibiotic treatment recommendations.
The technical details
The study was well-done, in that it was randomized and double-blinded, meaning that neither the patient nor the investigator knew which treatment the patient was receiving.
The Course Of Antibiotic Therapy
When it comes to antibiotics, getting the proper duration of the correct antibiotic safely is the priority. However, the simple fact is that people will usually stop taking an antibiotic as soon as they start feeling better. And that’s a mistake. Not only does not finishing the full course increase the likelihood of recurrence, but it also promotes the development of drug resistance.
Antibiotics work by eliminating the majority of bacteria while allowing the immune system to take care of the rest. By not completing a course of antibiotics, the surviving bacteria have the opportunity to thrive, some of which may be fully or partially resistant to the antibiotic. If these are allowed to predominate, antibiotic-resistant strains and superbugs can develop.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Nail Infection
Symptoms of paronychia usually develop over several hours or days. Sometimes they take longer to develop. Symptoms appear where the nail meets the skin . The sides of the nail can also be affected.
Paronychia symptoms include:
- Pain, swelling and tenderness around the nail.
- Skin that is red and warm to the touch.
- Pus that builds up under the skin. A white to yellow, pus-filled abscess may form. If an abscess forms, it may require antibiotics and/or drainage.
Untreated, the nail can start to grow abnormally and may have ridges or waves. It may look yellow or green, and it can be dry and brittle. The nail can detach from the nail bed and fall off.
What Is The Outlook For People With Paronychia
Paronychia usually clears up with treatment. Some people get more than one infection, or the infection comes back after treatment . Untreated, the infection can cause damage to the nail.
Rarely, untreated paronychia can go deeper into the finger or toe and lead to a serious infection. The infection may progress to involve the underlying bone. In severe cases, providers need to remove a finger or toe to make sure the infection doesnt spread to the rest of the body. Severe, chronic paronychia most often affects people who have diabetes or conditions that cause problems with blood circulation.
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How To Manage Recurrent Skin Infections
Recurrent cellulitis is extremely challenging. Each repeated episode of cellulitis can cause inflammation and disruption of the lymphatic system and subsequent lymphoedema. The affected limb is subsequently more prone to infection and a vicious cycle of cellulitis and limb swelling is established.
Treating the underlying cause of infection is the most important step in management. In cases of chronic lymphoedema and venous stasis, compression of the affected limb by bandaging or stockings helps to increase venous return and contractility of the lymphatic ducts, therefore decreasing swelling and cellulitis. Further supportive measures such as elevation of the limb may also confer symptomatic relief. For example in cellulitis of the leg, raising the foot higher than the hip with supportive cushions helps to reduce swelling and pain. Prophylactic long-term suppressive antibiotics offer symptomatic benefit and costbenefit in cases of recurrent streptococcal cellulitis.6,7 Options include twice-daily oral penicillin or cephalexin.
For recurrent staphylococcal infections, decolonisation measures should be considered .8 In difficult cases of recurrent infections despite prophylactic antibiotics, expert consultation with an infectious disease specialist is recommended.
Can I Treat Paronychia At Home
You may be able to treat mild cases of paronychia at home. Soak the infected area in warm water for about 15 minutes a few times a day. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly. Soaking the cuticle and nailbed helps pus drain from under the skin.
If symptoms dont get better after a day or two of home remedies, see your provider. You may need other treatments, such as antibiotics, to clear up the infection and help you heal. You may also need minor procedures such as drainage if an abscess has formed.
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Urgency Of Treatment Of Hand Infections
Hand infections can cause severe problems that persist even after the infection has resolved, such as stiffness, loss of strength, and even loss of tissues such as skin, nerve and even bone. Thus early and aggressive treatment of hand infections is essential. When seen early, some types of infection can be treated with antibiotics and local rest and soaking. However many infections begin to cause severe problems, even after a day or two, if not treated with antibiotics, surgical drainage, and removal of infected tissues. Any drainage or pus should be sent for laboratory testing to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection and the appropriate antibiotic for treatment.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Paronychia
If you have diabetes or another condition that affects your circulation, or are immunosuppressed, call your provider as soon as you notice signs of infection. You should seek immediate care if you have a condition that affects your bodys ability to fight infection.
See your provider if symptoms are severe or dont go away after a few days. If symptoms return after treatment, call your provider for an evaluation.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Nail infections can be painful, but they dont usually cause serious health problems. If your job requires you to work with chemicals or detergents, or if your hands are frequently wet, talk to your provider. You can protect your hands and avoid an infection by wearing waterproof gloves that do not irritate the skin. Seek treatment right away if you have diabetes or difficulty fighting infections. Also, see your provider if paronychia comes back after treatment, or if your symptoms worsen or dont go away.
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What Causes Cellulitis
Cellulitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection.
The bacteria can infect the deeper layers of your skin if it’s broken, for example, because of an insect bite or cut, or if it’s cracked and dry.
Sometimes the break in the skin is too small to notice.
You cannot catch cellulitis from another person, as it affects the deeper layers of the skin.
You’re more at risk of cellulitis if you:
- have poor circulation in your arms, legs, hands or feet, for example, because you’re overweight
- find it difficult to move around
- have a weakened immune system, for example, because of chemotherapy treatment or diabetes
- have lymphoedema, which causes fluid build-up under the skin
- inject drugs
- have a wound from surgery
- have had cellulitis before
What Causes Paronychia
Most commonly, infectious paronychia results from a staph infection. Staphylococcus aureus bacteria cause staph infections. Other bacteria can also cause the infection. Bacteria get into the skin through:
- Cuts, broken skin or hangnails.
- Ingrown nails .
- Irritation from water or chemicals.
Trauma to the nailbed or cuticle area. Trauma can result from accidents, nail biting or frequent manicures or pedicures.
Some medications can also cause paronychia. Some of these medications include retinoids, anti-cancer medications, HIV medications and some antibiotics.
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What Is Paronychia
Paronychia is an infection of the skin just next to a nail . The infected nail fold looks swollen, inflamed and may be tender.
There may also be a small collection of pus in the swelling. The nail itself may become infected or damaged if a nail-fold infection is left untreated.
Paronychia is also sometimes called ‘whitlow’.
What Are The Risks
It can be difficult to drain a nasty pulp infection, because the pulp has many interconnecting channels within it, which gives bacteria lots of different little areas to hide in. You may require more than one surgery. Early treatment is preferable for a quick and full recovery. If treatment is delayed and your infection is slow to clear up you are at risk of skin necrosis , septic arthritis , osteomyelitis and . One of the risks of surgery is that you may have altered sensation at the site of the incision to avoid this, where possible the incision will not be made on the part of the pulp that is most frequently used to touch or hold objects.
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How Is It Treated
If a finger infection isn’t settling quickly with antibiotics, elevation and immobilisation then you will need to be admitted to hospital and surgery is usually indicated to wash out the wound and drain any pus.
During treatment you will be advised to:
- keep your hand elevated at or above the level of your heart. This reduces swelling.
- keep your hand still. A plaster or fibreglass splint will be applied with a bandage to keep your fingers, hand and wrist still.
- take regular antibiotics. When you are in hospital these will usually be administered intravenously . Once your condition is improving you will be able to take tablet or capsule antibiotics and go home.
- cease smoking, if you smoke. if you smoke you reduce your ability to fight infection and to heal.
- take pain medications as required for the throbbing pain.