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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


what are the white spots on my 16 month old son's fingernails?
    
 Without seeing your child’s fingernails it's not easy to make an accurate diagnosis, but here are some guidelines that might help you.

Mere white spots on the nails are extremely common and harmless. Centuries ago they were called "gift spots," "fortune spots," and for some reason "sweethearts." They are felt to be caused by a temporary "glich" in the nail-producing process.

An elevation of the nail with a white buildup underneath is usually due to a nail infection caused by a bacteria, fungus, yeast, or virus. The nail may take as long as a few months to return to a normal appearance, even after treatment is started.

Probably the most common cause of horizontal white lines across the nail is a nail injury, The nail can be damaged by nail-biting, habit-tic, scratching the nail folds, bad manicuring or a blow to the finger tips. These lines will move up the nail as it grows and disappear in a few months. Rarely, certain skin diseases can also cause nail changes.

White changes to the nails have also been associated with typhoid fever, frostbite, trichinosis, gout, diphtheria, cholera, acute rheumatism, myocardial infarction, colitis, and any number of other ghastly ailments, none of which your child has!

We would suggest observing your child’s nails for a while and contact your pediatrician if you have other concerns.

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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