Health officials in Regina are investigating after a woman developed a nasty infection following a visit to a nail salon where she suffered a nick to a finger.

Michelle Burns had her nails done Jan. 4.

"The girl did nick me," Burns told CBC News Thursday.

Initially, she was not too concerned.

"I thought nothing of it, because ... it could happen to anyone," she said. After a few days, however, the injury only got worse.

"By the time I got to the doctors it was like a cherry," Burns recalled. "It was pusing — oozing. It was really red."

Michelle Burns

Michelle Burns says her finger was injured during a visit to a nail salon. Antibiotics and creams have eased the pain. (CBC)

Burns herself works as an eyelash extension technician and knows the importance of maintaining sanitary conditions in salons.

She said she is sharing her experience in the hope that others will learn from her. She said she remembers the salon she visited offered low rates.

"They say cheap's not always better," Burns said, ruefully. "You get what you paid for."

Waiting for test results

Burns said that after a course of antibiotics and creams the pain in her finger has subsided.

"It doesn't hurt as much," she said. "People have said it's healing properly."

She is also awaiting test results to learn if the infection led to anything more serious.

Robert Schuba, a manager in the public health division of the Regina-Qu'Appelle Health Regina, told CBC News that officials are looking into the matter and the salon involved.

Schuba explained that inspectors act whenever complaints are brought forward. Health regions are following provincial protocols for spas and salons.

"As these facilities make use of non-invasive type procedures, inspections are only conducted upon receipt of a complaint," a provincial health official said in a written statement.

Schuba said that approach, acting on complaints, relates to the risk involved with such places and the costs of inspections.

"Because they're lower risk ... not breaking the skin intentionally," Schuba explained. "Also, because there's a certain amount of funds ... [inspections are] done on a complaint basis."

Rules vary across Canada. In Ontario, in addition to acting on complaints, yearly inspections are done.

Salon facts

On Thursday afternoon CBC News contacted the Regina salon that Burns visited but was told the manager had left for the day.

Kelcey Harasen is an instructor at Richards College Style Academy in Regina.

She said cleanliness is a key component of training.

"Making sure that we're not having bacteria, or cross contamination, or infecting anybody, or making services unsafe for them," Harasen said.

She suggested that people simply ask the salon about sanitation practices and if anything seems amiss don't book an appointment.

Burns said surprise inspections might be an idea.

Ultimately, she wants all salons to be safe.

"That way nobody can get hurt," she said. "[It] could get worse than this. Someone can lose a full finger. You don't know what can happen."