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Hand Infection

Hand Infection is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Hand infections are commonly seen in the ED.
  • The range of pathology is broad and may include acute and chronic conditions.

  • Serious hand infections are potential liability issues and must be handled with extreme caution.
  • Referral to hand surgeon is almost always indicated.


  • Bacterial infection of the hand is associated with skin pathogens:
    • Staphylococcus or Streptococcus spp
    • History of a puncture wound
  • Anaerobes are identified in 75% of paronychia in children owing to thumb sucking and nail biting.
  • Chronic paronychia may be caused by Candida albicans.
  • Herpetic whitlow is caused by type 1–2 herpes simplex virus.
  • Clenched fist injuries involve a variety of pathogens, including anaerobic Streptococcus and Eikenella spp.

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Hand Infection." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307102/all/Hand_Infection.
Hand Infection. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307102/all/Hand_Infection. Accessed April 22, 2019.
Hand Infection. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307102/all/Hand_Infection
Hand Infection [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 22]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307102/all/Hand_Infection.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Hand Infection ID - 307102 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307102/all/Hand_Infection PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -