By: Annie Morgan
Some people tend to bite their nails when they are nervous or anxious as a way to calm down.
Others do it without even thinking about it, and chalk it up to simply a “bad habit.”
But the truth is – biting your nails is more than just a bad habit you need to kick – this nervous tick can actually cause serious health risks.
So if you’re a nail-biter and not motivated to stop biting your nails just yet – take a look at what this nasty little habit is doing to your health.
Your Hands Are Dirty
Think about all the places your hands are in a given day.
Opening doors, all over a railing as you walk down the stairs, handling money (which has been touched by who knows who).
And that’s just the basics.
All of the bacteria and germs that everyone else has, is now on your skin.
And as you bite your nails, you are literally transferring all of the unseen germs into your mouth.
You are just asking to get sick.
Even if you are obsessive about hand sanitizer, the funk from other people is on everything you touch.
Do yourself a favor and keep your hands away from your mouth. Looks like when mom told us to keep our hands out of our mouth as a child – she knew what she was talking about!
As you fervently bite your nails, you are actually opening up the skin allowing bacteria to creep under your skin and nails.
Your biting, twisting, and pulling of the skin could cause little cuts and open skin – and lead to everything from swelling under the skin to infections filled with pus.
“New York City–based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD tells Health that biting your nails increases the risk of a bacterial infection under the nail, such as paronychia, which can cause redness, swelling, and nails filled with pus. The infection requires a course of oral antibiotics to cure. We say, no thanks.”
And we’ve already told you why antibiotics are basically useless.
To help protect your hands – don’t bite your nails!
Disability And Death
If you aren’t worried about a bacterial infection – be warned.
If left untreated, you can actually develop septic arthritis which can kill you.
“If paronychia or another bacterial infection gets out of control, it might infect the joints of the hand, according to David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. This can result in a condition called septic arthritis, which is hard to cure and may require surgery. “It can also lead to permanent disability, or even a systemic infection that can be life threatening,” says Dr. Katz. Extreme, sure, but totally possible.”
If you think about biting your nails – ask yourself if being permanently disabled or catching a life-threatening infection is worth it!
It might sound extreme, but it could happen to you.
Help For Those Who Suffer
Ladies – if you are a chronic nail-biter – try keeping your nails well-groomed and manicured.
Chances are, when your nails are pretty and polished, and you just dropped $40 at the salon, you aren’t going to want to chew on your fingernails.
For men who bite – believe it or not, you can actually keep your nails well groomed too!
In addition, they even make stuff you can put on your nails that tastes bitter to make biting them less likely.
Nail-biting is a bad habit, but it can be defeated.
Not only will your nails look better, but as research shows, it’s better for your health too.
Are you a nail-biter?
What surprised you most about the health risks of biting your nails?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to share this article with your friends and family to let them know the health risks of nail biting!