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Hand injuries in children

A 4 year old child presents with a swollen middle finger which is slightly painful. Paronychia or infection of the skin around the nail is a common presentation in children. Sometimes this condition can be caused by a virus and mimics paronychial bacterial infection. It is known as a Herpetic Whitlow, caused by the herpes virus. Simple measures to begin with are to soak the affected finger in luke warm water with a dilute antiseptic such as betadine. If the swelling continues worsening, a doctors visit will determine if the infection needs surgical drainage with intravenous antibiotic treatment.

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