Nail care: Care of the fingernails and toenails. Many nail problems are due to poor nail care. Recommendations for maintaining nail health include keeping nails clean and dry to keep bacteria and other infectious organisms from collecting under the nails, cutting nails straight across with only slight rounding at the tip, using a fine-textured file to keep nails shaped and free of snags, and avoiding nail-biting. It is a good idea to soak toenails that are thick and difficult to cut in warm salt water (1 tsp. salt to 1 pint of water) for 5 to 10 minutes, and apply a 10 percent urea cream (available at drugstores, without a prescription) before trimming. One should not 'dig out' ingrown toenails, especially if they are sore; instead, a physician should provide treatment. Nail changes, swelling, and pain can signal serious problems that should be reported to a physician.
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