"a question for the doc.... What do you know if anything about alternative treatments for PARONYCHIA (infected nail bed)? I am having trouble with my left hand fourth digit...a small infection causes swelling and leakage of fluid beside the nail...a course of antibiotics recommended by a local GP (Dicloxacillin taken orally 24x500 mg) held it up but failed to eliminate it completely.....hardly life affecting but irritating and mildly unsightly..."

I'll have to research this. A quick answer would be to try soaking the finger tip in an infusion of goldenseal, or poulticing with goldenseal. Or you might want to make a salve. Try mixing some goldenseal powdered root into a little bee's wax and apply that very thinly (we do want the skin to breath).

Goldenseal has antimicrobial properties, both antibacterial and antifungal. (So does garlic! Eat garlic...)

The Merck Manual tells us... "Paronychial (means "around the nails") Infections... inflammation of the periungual tissue (tissues round the nails) ...usually Pseudomonas, or Proteus, but sometimes Candida" ... (Pseudomonas and Proteus are bacterial) ... and suggests "hot compresses or soaks..."

You may want to take goldenseal internally as well as topically. Try 20 drops of tincture three times a day for four weeks (after which you must take a break. Goldenseal has some hepatotoxicity!)

You might also try Tea Tree Oil which has antimicrobial properties.

If the problem is fungal (Candida) you should take sugar out of your diet as much as possible (and get back to me about treatments for systemic yeasts.

I mean to put up a page on fingernails as a diagnostic tool, soon.