How can I prevent a nail infection (paronychia)?

Taking proper care of your nails will greatly reduce the chance of an infection. Do not chew on your nails or pick at the skin around them. Do not trim the cuticles (the skin at the base of the nail). Disrupting the nail or cuticle will create an entry for bacteria and fungi. In general, you should keep your hands away from chronic water exposure and avoid any irritants or allergens from coming in contact with your skin.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/28/2017.


  • American Family Physician. Paronychia Accessed 4/6/2018.
  • American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Paronychia Nail Infection Accessed 4/6/2018.
  • Bonifaz A, Paredes V, Fierro L. Paronychia. Skinmed. 2013 Jan-Feb;11(1):14-6.

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