Biting finger nails can cause whitlow, says expert

An unhealthy nail biting habit. PHOTO: NAIRALAND.

A medical expert, Dr Festus Olalekan, has warned Nigerians against biting their finger nails, saying it could result in skin infection, especially whitlow.

Olalekan, who works with Graceland Hospital, Ilorin, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday that biting of nails had remained a common practice among people who do not realise the health implications.

According to him, the finger nail is an ideal location for bacteria to grow and it can easily get transferred to the mouth and other parts of the body.

The expert also said that the habit could result in swelling and redness around the nails.

“As you chew your nails, bacteria and other microorganisms can enter your body.

“ You can also get exposed to paronychia (whitlow), an infection under the cuticle of a fingernail or toenail

“I understand that it is difficult for some people to keep clean nails and avoid the biting of fingernails.

“Nails are ideal location for bacteria to grow; this is why you need to avoid the habit of chewing nails in order to stay healthy,’’ Olalekan said.

He advised people experiencing swelling or redness of the fingernail to visit a doctor in order to prevent  other health complications.