Staying One Step Ahead Of Toenail Fungus
An established fungal infection is hard to eradicate, but you can stop its spread and improve your toenail’s appearance.
Toenail fungus isn’t a pressing health problem. Yet a fungal infection can ruin the appearance of your nails and cause pain as it lifts the nail away from the nail bed. And fungal infections are notoriously difficult to get rid of. “You may want to consider fungal toenail a condition to be managed rather than cured,” says Dr. James P. Ioli, chief of the podiatry service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Nurses Know That Home Remedies Knock Out Nasty Nail Fungus
Many people have been reluctant to go to a doctors office because of COVID-19. Unless something is really serious, the risks may seem too great. Nasty nail fungus infections just dont seem like that big a deal, but the longer they persist, the worse they get. When a condition is not worrisome, we are OK with home remedies. To be on the safe side, people with diabetes and those with psoriasis should have their discolored or deformed nails checked by a doctor.
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Can A Nail Fungal Infection Be Prevented Or Avoided
Avoid situations that expose you to a fungus. This includes walking barefoot in locker rooms and having wet hands and feet often. This might be a problem for people who work in restaurants or house cleaning. People in a family can get nail fungal infections at the same time. This happens when their immune systems arent able to fight off the infection. Or it could be the infection is spread when using the same towels. It is important to routinely clean your shower, tub, and bathroom to lower risk of fungal infection.
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Why Toenail Fungus Is So Stubborn
A fungal infection in your toenails is typically caused by a tiny organism called dermatophyte fungus. This type of fungus thrives in warm, moist environments think public swimming pools or locker rooms where it can be easily transferred between people.
Once you pick up the infection, it can spread fairly quickly, largely because you keep your feet inside shoes, creating the perfect environment for fungal growth.
Making matters worse, your toenails are fairly thick and made up of many layers, which means the fungus can set up shop deep within these layers, making it more difficult to target. In moderate-to-severe cases, the fungus can even get into the matrix of your nail, which means any new toenail growth is already infected.
Rounding out the list of hurdles is the fact that your toes dont benefit from great circulation, so your immune system is less likely to detect and fight off the foreign invaders.
What all of this amounts to is that many people think that a toe fungal infection is coming back when it never really went away in the first place.
Side Effects Of Toenail Fungus Medication
One of the many benefits of using a homeopathic remedy is that there are little to no adverse side effects. Topical treatments often prescribed to treat toenail fungus can potentially burn or blister the skin. Oral medications for treating onychomycosis can cause liver or gastrointestinal damage. Be sure to read your medications list of potential side effects. Consult your pharmacist, physician, or specialist if you are concerned about side effects of prescription drugs.
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How Do You Get A Fungal Nail Infection
Most fungal nail infections occur as a result of the fungi that cause athlete’s foot infecting the nails.
These fungi often live harmlessly on your skin, but they can sometimes multiply and lead to infections. The fungi prefer warm, dark and moist places like the feet.
You’re more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:
- don’t keep your feet clean and dry
- wear shoes that cause your feet to get hot and sweaty
- walk around barefoot in places where fungal infections can spread easily, such as communal showers, locker rooms and gyms
- have damaged your nails
- have a weakened immune system
- have certain other health conditions, such as diabetes, psoriasis or peripheral arterial disease
Fungal nail infections can be spread to other people, so you should take steps to avoid this if you have an infection.
What Is The Treatment For Fungal Nails
Oral antifungal therapy has a high cure rate, depending on the medication. It can take nine to 12 months to see if it has worked or not, because that is how long it takes for the nail to grow out. Even when therapy works, the fungus may come back. Currently, an oral antifungal therapy is considered the best treatment for toenail fungus because of higher cure rates and shorter treatment duration compared to topical therapy.
Prescription oral medications that are effective against nail fungus include the following:
There are several innovative treatments that are still being tested:
- Laser therapy or uses application of light-activated agents onto the nail followed by shining light of a proper wavelength on the nail.
- Use of electrical current to help absorption of topical antifungal medications into the nail: This is also called iontophoresis.
- Use of a special nail lacquer that changes the micro-climate of the nail to make it inhospitable for the fungus to grow: If this works, it may be an inexpensive way to treat this problem in the future.
One way to definitively get rid of toenail fungus is by surgery. Surgical treatment of onychomycosis involves nail removal. However, this often only provides temporary relief, and recurrence is common unless additional antifungal medication is simultaneously used. However, surgical removal may be warranted when the affected nail is associated with other factors such as trauma and or infection.
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A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections
Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or it’s painful.
They may suggest:
- antifungal nail cream it can take up to 12 months to cure the infection and does not always work
- nail-softening cream it’s used for 2 weeks to soften the nail so the infected part can be scraped off
The infection is cured when you see healthy nail growing back at the base.
Toenail Fungus: Causes And Risk Factors
Toenail fungus is a fungal infection in the toenail. It happens when a fungus anything from mold to yeast to other types of fungus gets in the nail bed from a cut or break in the nail or repetitive trauma to the nail, and penetrates the nail itself, says Dr. Sundling. The nail then continues to grow with the fungus. Once a nail plate is infected with fungus, it will never not be infected, and you must wait to see how it grows out and whether the new nail growing behind it is healthy. The new nail rarely grows in healthy without treatment, says Sundling.
Toenail fungus is very common 14 percent of people have it in North America, according to an article published in the journal PLoS Pathogens and its more common the older you get, adds Sundling. Wearing shoes that are too small can damage the nail and make it more vulnerable to fungus, as can having a fungal infection on the skin of the foot and not treating it, which could expose the nail to fungus. You may be more at risk to toenail fungus if you have diabetes, or a weaker immune system.
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Q What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Toenail Fungus
Ans-The doctor may prescribe antifungal drugs named terbinafine and itraconazole that you need to consume for a couple of weeks. You need to complete the antifungal course to get rid of it, or it can return again.
With that, antifungal ointments and creams are also available to prevent this from growing. Home remedies can also be worthy of preventing this.
In severe cases, the doctor can advise laser therapy to remove the infected nail so it cant spread in the bloodstream.
What About The Cost Of Oral Medications For Fungal Nails
A further consideration is cost. Because newer oral antifungal agents are very expensive, some insurance companies balk at paying for what they consider a “cosmetic issue,” unless nail fungus causes pain or other functional symptoms. Terbinafine and fluconazole are now available as generic drugs and are quite inexpensive.
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How To Treat Nail Fungus
Topical antifungal creams, oral antifungal prescriptions, and, in severe cases, removal of the nail. However, these medications and procedures can have serious side effects including pain, fever, diarrhea, fatigue, swelling, difficulty breathing, weight gain, liver damage, heart problems, and more.
Hoping to avoid health consequences, more and more patients are looking for ways to treat their nail fungus naturally at home.
Keep After Your Feet Even If It Looks Like The Fungus Is Gone
The same fungus that causes athletes foot is the one that will infect the nails. So after youve treated the fungus and it looks like its out, the patient still has a lot of responsibility, Dr. Lipner says. You need to make sure it doesnt come back by applying an antifungal producta basic athletes foot productto your feet daily. If you get the fungus invading your feet, youll probably get it back in your nails, too. Apply an antifungal cream, spray, or powder to the shoes or the feet daily, she says. To some people, its a habit like brushing your teeth. For others, getting them to do it is like pulling teeth.
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Acrylic Nail Fungus Home Remedies
The first step after noticing an infection is to have the acrylic nail removed and to wash your fingernail with soap and water. Avoid putting on a new nail until the infection clears.
Anecdotally, some people claim the following home remedies have helped them clear their infection:
- Vinegar. Vinegar contains acid that can inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria. Try soaking your finger in a 2:1 ratio of warm water to vinegar.
- Vicks VapoRub. An older 2011 study found Vicks VapoRub seemed to have a positive clinical effect on killing toenail fungi. You can try applying a small amount to your finger once a day.
- Tea tree oil. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, one small study found evidence that tea tree oil may help treat nail fungus, but more research is needed. Try applying oil to your nail twice per day.
- Oregano oil. The chemical thymol found in oregano oil may have antifungal properties. Try applying oregano oil to your nail twice per day with a cotton swab.
- Listerine mouthwash. Listerine contains ingredients that have antifungal properties. Some people claim soaking your finger in original Listerine for 30 minutes a day may help clear the infection.
What Are Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Do you need to treat your nail fungus? Maybe it doesn’t hurt, and the yellow, thick nails don’t bother you.
But nail fungus doesn’t go away by itself. And if you don’t treat it, there’s a chance it could get worse. It could spread to other nails or through your body. It could cause pain when you walk.
There are a number of ways to take care of it, including:
Nonprescription options. You can buy antifungal creams, gels, and nail polish at the store and online without a prescription. You might want to try one of them first if the infection doesn’t look bad. Some people also swear by home remedies like menthol rub, tea tree oil, mouthwash, or snakeroot extract — but studies show mixed results.
Prescription polish and creams. Your foot doctor will likely trim your nail and file away its dead layers. They may also take a piece of your nail and send it to the lab to make sure itâs really a fungus and to find out what type it is.
The doctor might suggest an antifungal drug that you paint on your nails. This may work on its own, or they may suggest you take it with antifungal pills.
Prescription medications. One of several antifungal pills may help. They work, but it may take many months to do the job. They also come with side effects like nausea, vomiting, and headaches. They may cause liver damage too, so your doctor will watch you closely while you take them. Be sure to tell them about any other meds youâre taking — some antifungal pills might not work well with them.
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Softening And Scraping Away The Nail
As it can take a long time for antifungal medication to work, some people may prefer to use a treatment that involves softening and removing infected parts of nail over a few weeks.
Treatment kits are available from pharmacies that contain a 40% urea paste, plasters and a scraping device. The paste softens the infected parts of the nail, allowing them to be scraped away so they can be gradually replaced with healthy nail.
To use the treatment:
Q What Are The Types Of Toenail Fungus
- Distal subungual onychomycosis is the most basic type of toenail fungus, and the signs include discolouration of the nails.
- White superficial onychomycosis: the symptoms start from nails discolouration and brittle nails.
- Proximal subungual onychomycosis: white spots appear in the nail and move outward and mostly occur in people with HIV or weak immunity.
- Candidal onychomycosis: the nails become inflamed, and the outer skin gets swollen.
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Clean Socks And Shoes
Regularly changing your socks and shoes can also cut down on the growth of unwanted foot fungus. Both socks and athletic shoes can also be washed in hot water to rid the growth of yeasts and fungi that may be growing on the fabric. Some shoes can be machine dried. Drying shoes in the sun is another option when cleaning footwear.
Adding a half-cup of baking soda or one cup of vinegar to the washing machine can help eliminate bacteria or fungus on socks or shoes.
Boots and other footwear that are not machine washable could be wiped out with a vinegar and water solution or sprayed with an over-the-counter antifungal spray. Medicated powders are also helpful in treating shoes for foot fungus.
Allowing the feet to breathe by taking off shoes and socks when possible can prevent fungal growth. Protect your feet by wearing breathable footwear and clean socks. Antimicrobial socks and shoes made from bamboo, copper, or specialty fabrics are also available. They can help reduce unwanted bacteria and yeast from growing in your footwear.
A proactive approach to keeping your feet clean and dry can prevent the spread of toenail fungus. You can wash or soak feet with warm soapy water or a foot bath using everyday household items. Soaking your feet in an all-natural, homeopathic concoction can be beneficial in reducing or eliminating toenail fungus.
What Is The Outlook For Someone With Toenail Fungus
While toenail fungus is common, its usually not harmful. Symptoms mostly affect the look of your toenail.
Toenail fungus may spread to the skin between your toes or other areas of your body. When getting dressed, put your socks on first to reduce the chance of spread.
Treating toenail fungus takes a long time, and it doesnt always work. Even then, toenail fungus often returns. Discuss the pros and cons of treating toenail fungus with your provider to determine whats best for you.
Practicing good hygiene and foot care reduces the chance toenail fungus will come back. If you have diabetes, getting regular foot exams may help you address foot problems before they get serious.
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How To Prevent Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus seems not such a serious issue. But it may damage your nail permanently, and it also may start other serious infections. So we must follow some tips to prevent it
- Always wash your feet with soap and pat them dry. Do not leave moisture in between your fingers.
- The fungus is contagious, and it spreads in warm and wet places. So avoid going to public places like swimming pool, toilet barefoot.
- Try to change your diet and make yourself habituated with enough protein-enriched foods. Take foods or supplements that contain iron, calcium, and vitamin D. This will prevent brittle nails.
- Put a habit to wear clean socks and shoes. The fungus often grows in moist shoes.
- Do not allow your toenail to grow big. So trim your nails short.
- Use food gel or powder to keep your foot fresh and dry.
- If you have a previous history of toenail fungus, keep antifungal cream and use it once a week.
- Check your nails and feet daily if you have diabetes.
Toenail Fungus Treatment Complications
Here are some things to think about when deciding on a nail fungus treatment.
If you have a disease like diabetes, your doctor will make sure you treat nail fungus. This illness often makes you more likely to have other problems from minor foot issues.
You may not be able to take antifungal pills because of side effects or because they donât work well with other drugs you take. If that’s the case, try a product that goes onto your nail. Your doctor will call this a topical treatment.
Be patient. Your nails may not look “normal” after treatment. It can take as long as a year to 18 months for your nail to grow out a fungus.
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