This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
A large share of the diseases of these organs result from neglect or abuse. The hands are frequently injured by the use of irritating substances and by exposure to cold while wet or moist. The feet generally suffer most from neglect of proper cleanliness and improper or insufficient covering. Both hands and feet frequently become sources of great discomfort and annoyance for want of proper attention. In cold weather, persons whose hands are liable to chap should avoid the use of soap altogether, cleansing the hands by washing with corn meal or oatmeal and water. The application of glycerine nr vaseline after washing is a very excellent means of preventing chapping. The hands may generally be protected from irritating substances by anointing with oil or vaseline before exposure. Cracking the fingers is a bad habit, as it causes enlargement of the joints. Biting the finger-nails is not only disagreeable, but injurious, and is the principal cause of hang-nails of the fingers. The habit when once acquired, is often difficult to break. It may often be accomplished, however, by smearing the ends of the fingers and nails with some bitter or otherwise disagreeable substance, as extract of aloes or tincture of red popper.
In some persons, the thin layer of skin at the root of the nail has a tendency to adhere to it as the nail grows out. After a time it becomes loosened, and pooling back forms a ragged fringe at the root of the nail, the fissures of which are likely to run down into the skin, thus often becoming very annoying. The best way to privent this annoying difficulty is to gently press back the portion of skin referred to, every few days, after soaking the hands in warm water, thus preventing it from adhering to the nail.
Sometimes through perverted nutrition of the nail, they assume the form of claws. The only treatment is removal of the nail and its matrix.
This is a little portion of partially detached tissue adjacent to the nail, which is usually the result of a slight injury of some kind, and by constant contact with various objects becomes inflamed and quite annoying.
Clean the nail carefully, dry with a bit of absorbent cotton or soft cloth, and apply an adhesive plaster. It should be renewed every day or two until the cure is completed. If a considerable degree of inflammation has been excited, and there is a raw surface of considerable size, a little powdered alum or tannin should be applied before the application of the plaster.