The hands are one of the most used parts of the body, and they are exposed to various germs every day. When these germs enter the body through a cut or wound in the hand, they can cause an infection. Hand infections can be painful, and if left untreated, they can lead to serious complications. Here are some of the common ones:

1. Cellulitis

Cellulitis occurs when bacteria enter the skin through a cut, wound, or insect bite. It causes the affected area to become red, swollen, and warm to the touch. The infection can spread quickly and require oral antibiotics to treat. Other symptoms are fevers, chills, and pain.

2. Paronychia

Nails are vulnerable to infections, and paronychia is one such infection that affects the skin around the nail. Bacteria usually cause it and may result in redness, swelling, and pain around the nail bed. In severe cases, pus may also develop. Treatment may involve soaking the affected area in warm water and taking antibiotics. 

3. Felon

For most children, getting a “felon” would probably sound scary and unfamiliar. However, this condition is actually another type of finger infection that can affect adults as well. A felon is an infection that develops in the fingertip pad, usually caused by bacteria entering through a break in the skin.

4. Deep Space Infections

Deep space infections may happen in the spaces between the bones and joints of the fingers or toes. These infections can be very serious and may require urgent medical attention. If left untreated, deep space infections can lead to permanent damage or even amputation of the affected digit.

5. Septic Arthritis

A complication of a deep space infection, septic arthritis is a serious condition that occurs when bacteria or other infectious agents spread to the joint. This can cause inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the joint. Septic arthritis requires prompt medical treatment, including antibiotics and sometimes drainage of the joint fluid.

6. Herpetic Whitlow

One of the most common finger infections, herpetic whitlow, is caused by the herpes simplex virus and can occur when the virus enters through a break in the skin. The infection typically causes painful blisters or sores on the finger or thumb, which may be accompanied by redness, swelling, and tenderness.

7. Human Bite Infections

When the skin is broken by human teeth, bacteria from the mouth can enter the wound and cause an infection. These infections may manifest as redness, swelling, and pain around the bite wounds. Seek medical attention if another person bites you, as human bite infections can be serious and may require antibiotics or other medical treatment.

8. Animal Bite Infections

Similarly to human bites, animal bites can also cause infections when bacteria from the animal’s mouth enter the wound. Different animals have different types of bacteria in their mouths, so the type of infection may vary depending on the animal. Infections from animal bites can be severe and may require medical attention.

Key Takeaway 

Always take care of your hands and avoid cuts and wounds as much as possible. However, if an infection does occur, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly to prevent any complications. By knowing the types of hand infections, you will be able to recognize the symptoms and seek appropriate treatment. 

Our hand specialists at North Florida Hand and Wrist are dedicated to providing comprehensive care for hand infections. Whether you have an infection from a human or animal bite, we are always here to help. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment if you or someone you know in Jacksonville may have a hand infection.