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What is the problem with my daughters' nails?

Q: About a week back I noticed that the finger nails of my twin daughters (four years old) have started to detach from the base. There is a new nail growing beneath it. There is no pain or any other discomfort, but to be sure we went to a doctor, who suggested the use of tonics containing zinc. Earlier, both my daughters had taken two courses (with a gap of three weeks) of antibiotics to treat viral infection, light fever, throat infection and cough. Should I be worried about this?

A:From your description what your children have developed is called Onychomadesis. It is the proximal separation of the nail plate from the nail bed, which typically results in shedding of the nail. Trauma is the usual cause. Less common causes include poor nutritional status, febrile illness, or drug sensitivity. The inciting event causes complete cessation of nail matrix activity. Loss of the nail may or may not be permanent. I feel that the course of antibiotics might have brought it on. If I am right, the nails will grow normally over a short period of six weeks.

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