Paronychia is an acute inflammation of the fingers. It is caused by a germ that has infiltrated the finger, commonly on the lateral area of the nail. Symptoms are, at early stages, swelling, redness, and pain in the infected area. By quickly treating the inflammation with simple methods, such as warm soaks that are frequently remoistened, the paronychia can be "matured" and healed. If it progresses, the symptoms increase in intensity, the infected area becoming white, signifying the presence of pus, and a mild fever can come on, in which case a surgical incision is necessary. Antibiotics are generally not needed.