Nail biting might seem like a 'minor' bad habit, but it can cause some major problems such as infections if it isn't stopped.
Nail biting might seem like an innocuous habit for some, but if left unchecked, nail biting can cause a lot of problems, including infections.
1. It can cause staph infection
Staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria that causes staph infection, is typically found in the nails.
Nail biting can cause your child to potentially ingest the staph bacteria inside their nails, causing them to get infected. If left untreated, staph bacteria can cause boils on the skin, respiratory infections, as well as symptoms that are similar to food poisoning.
What's more concerning is that there are certain types of staph bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, which makes treatment difficult.
2. Your child can get infected with E.coli
Escherichia coli, or more commonly known as E.coli, is another type of bacteria that can be found in your child's nails, especially if they don't wash their hands.
E.coli is typically found in feces, and most contaminations are caused by not washing your hands. Incidentally, this can also be caused by nail biting, as the E.coli contained inside the nails might be ingested if your child bites their nails.
And even if your child does wash their hands, there is still a chance that there's E.coli under the nails. E.coli can also be life threatening, so it shouldn't be something that's to be taken lightly.
3. Herpetic whitlow
Herpetic whitlow is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) that can also cause cold sores. If your child is infected with HSV and they bite their fingers, it can cause the following:
- Swelling and redness in the fingers
- Lesions on the fingers and nail bed
- Swollen lymph nodes
While not life-threatening, HSV is highly contagious, especially if it has been transferred to the hands.
4. Candida Parapsilosis
More commonly known as yeast bacteria, these are commonly found under the fingernails and causes infections throughout the body.
It can also be transferred from the hands to the mouth, and causes infections throughout the digestive tract. In some severe cases, it can also infect the heart, brain, eyes, bones, eyes, as well as other parts of the body.
Candida infections can be fatal if not treated, and patients need a series of antifungal medications to treat the condition. In some cases, removal of the nail might be necessary.