What is felon infection?

Felon Infection
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Felon infection in children: Overview

An infection of the pad of the finger is called a felon or pulp-space infection. The finger is made up of several small areas of tissue. Because of this, pus from an infection can build up with no place to go. Then the infection can spread deeper into the finger. Sometimes it can spread into the bone.

An infection can happen after a cut, a scrape, a puncture, or some other injury.

Your child's finger may be painful and red. Mild infections may be treated with antibiotics alone. You also may soak your child's finger in warm water.

If the infection is deeper or there is a lot of pus, the doctor may open the area to drain the pus. This is sometimes done in an operating room.

How can you care for your child's felon infection?

  • If the doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Prop up the hand on a pillow anytime your child sits or lies down during the next 3 days. Try to keep the area above the level of your child's heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • If your doctor told you how to care for the wound, follow your doctor's instructions. If you did not get instructions, follow this general advice:
    • Wash the area with clean water 2 times a day. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
    • Cover with a nonstick bandage.
  • If the area was packed with gauze:
    • Go to all follow-up appointments to have the gauze changed or removed.
    • Your doctor may ask you to remove the gauze. If so, gently pull out all of the gauze when your doctor tells you to.

Felon infection in children: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has signs that the infection is getting worse, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.

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