6 answers

Infected Hangnail?

My 7-month old has what looks like an infected hangnail on her left hand, middle finger. The tip, from the first knuckle up, is red and swollen, and there is a small pus pocket on the right side next to the nail. I know that when i've had the same thing it was very sore.
Anyone have any suggestions of what I can do?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all. I soaked her finger twice and put a little neosporin and a bandaid on it once, and it got better!

More Answers

Hi R.,
My 3 yr old daughter just had the same thing. She is a nail biter and got a little too aggressive. What I did was soak her finger in very warm Epsom Salt water for a few minutes. Then I took a Q-tip with hydrogen peroxide and started gently pushing the skin away from the nail. I finally found the "wound" and gave the finger a quick squeeze. It hurt for a second until it opened and puss squirted out. I put more peroxide on it, then a band-aid with Neosporin. It was MUCH better the next day. My uncle-in-law said it needed to be opened and drained before the body could do it's job. If you can't handle causing your daughter a little pain, take her to the doctor.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.
I agree with the other posts, EPSOM SALTS do the trick., oddly, my son happens to have a hangnail right now, but on his foot. I soaked it last nite and already , a lot of the redness is gone, I then applied bactine.. I will soak it again today and if it wked as well as it did last nite, the hangnail should be better within a couple of days.
oh and once I put the bactine on it (which numbs it a bit) i then applied a "little" bit of pressure to help ooze out the pus. again, i did this very litely..
good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful

Soaking the affected area in warm (you test the temp first) water (w or w/o Epsom Salts). This opens up the area and allows any pus/infection to be drawn out - then the Bacitracin or Neosporin on a tiny band-aid...she should be good as new!

Hi R.,

How long has her finger been like this? Is it improving or just staying the same? Either way, one thing to watch for is if the redness spreads or not.

If the redness starts spreading up the finger towards the hand - then make sure she sees a doctor as soon as possible.
My husband once got an infected hangnail from a dog licking his hand when he had an open hangnail. It was very sore and warm to the touch and the redness started to spread. He wanted to just ignore it and let it get better on its own, but I made him go to the doctor and it turned out to be cellulitis. This is a condition that requires antibiotics, (and quickly, to stop it from spreading further).
I see a lot of infections through the course of my job and it is wise to be cautious with little ones. Just monitor it continually till it is gone and keep it as clean as you can while it's healing. It might just be red and swollen because it is irritated, but the presence of pus, if it is green/yellow usually indicates infection (though not necessarily cellulitis).

Hope this helps.


Epsom salts help draw the infection out. I would sit with her at the table with a warm but not hot bowl of epsom salts and water and soak her finger a few times and see if it helps, otherwise I would call the dr. and get advice from a nurse to determine if she should be seen or not.

Good luck!


I've had this before myself...painful! I used a little bit of Basitrasin (Sp?) ointment (Basically it's Neosporin). Wash the area, apply the ointment when she's asleep so it can absorb before she has a chance to put her hand in her mouth. After a couple days this worked for me. Good luck.

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