Nail Care

Hangnails in Children

Hangnails in children are only problematic when children bite at them, pick at them or get them dirty due to infrequent hand washing. Such negligence and nail abuse, as is often the case with children, can quickly lead to a painful infection in the finger. Experts advise that children be taught specifically how to treat their hangnails in order to avoid acute and painful conditions.

8 Tips to Fix Hangnails in Children

Listed below are some tips that can help you teach and manage hangnails in children both safely and easily:

  • Massage and nourish hands and nails:

    Teach your kids to apply moisturizers or cuticle creams to manage hangnails instead of biting them off.

  • Teach your kids the art of gentle care:

    Encourage your children not to pick at loose dry skin next to the nails. Also, teach them not to push the cuticle back too far. Dr. Scott A. Norton from the Tripler Army Medical Center (Honolulu) reminds us that cuticles are natural protectors, serving to cover the delicate skin around our nails. Pushing cuticles back forcibly can easily lead to infection or hangnails.

  • Provide assistance once a child is able to identify a hangnail:

    When your child identifies a hangnail, provide the necessary care and assistance. Help your child wash the affected area and cover with a Band-Aid. Try and keep your child from pulling off or even trimming of the hangnail with nail scissors or clippers. This often makes the problem worse.

  • Treat the problem:

    Dr Norton says that if a hangnail must be removed, do not pull it off completely, simply trim the ends to keep kids from picking at it with sterilized clippers or scissors, moisturize, then cover it until healed.

  • Use warm water to fight the infection:

    Experts advise that parents should examine the skin around the hangnail every day to check for infection. If inflammation, redness or warmth around the hangnail is noted, , soak the offending finger in warm water. This treatment should be performed 3-4 times a day for at least 2 days. Dr Norton claims that soaking fingers in warm water increases blood flow into the affected area which brings additional antibodies that help fight infection or bacteria.

  • Over-the-counter ointments:

    A topical antibiotic cream can also be applied to infected hangnails. Basic antibiotic creams are available over the counter. If an infection persists, contact your doctor regarding a more aggressive treatment.

  • Teach your kids the art of protecting the hangnails:

    Hangnails, whether infected or not, should be protected to avoid skin tears, bleeding, etc. Teach your kids not to put their infected fingers inside their mouths or nose. In addition, teach your kids to wash their hands more often and cut or trim nails across without damaging the surrounding skin.

  • Discourage nail biting:

    Nail biting is the most frequent cause of hangnails in children.

While hangnails don’t generally require a doctor’s care, be sure to call your doctor if you the area around your child’s nail bed swells, reddens, aches, or oozes pus. These are signs of a more serious infection that may require more aggressive care, including but not limited to an oral antibiotic.

1 response to Hangnails in Children

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