Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails
Fungal infection of the nails sometimes makes the condition sound contagious or related to poor hygiene. In fact, up to 10% of all adults in Western countries have fungal infection of the nails. This percentage increases to 20% of adults who are age 60 or older. Toenail fungus is much more common than fingernail fungus.
In reality, abnormal-looking nails may be caused by a number of conditions including, but not limited to, fungal infection. There are many other reasons why your nails may look different.
Living With A Nail Fungal Infection
If you have a nail fungal infection, some things can help:
- Keep your nails cut short and file down any thick areas.
- Dont use the same nail trimmer and file on healthy nails and infected nails. If you have your nails professionally manicured, bring your own nail file and trimmer from home.
- Wear waterproof gloves for wet work . Wear 100% cotton gloves for dry work.
- Wear socks made of wicking material . This pulls moisture away from the skin. Change your socks when they are damp from sweat or if your feet get wet. Put on clean, dry socks every day. Put over-the-counter antifungal foot powder inside your socks to keep your feet dry.
- Wear shoes with good support and a wide toe area. Dont wear pointed shoes that press your toes together.
- Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, such as locker rooms.
Tips For Prevention Of Fungal Nails
Nail fungus causes only 50% of abnormal-appearing nails. It can be hard to tell the difference between the different causes of discolored nails . Onychomycosis is often not treated. Reasons to receive treatment include
No one knows where a specific person catches the fungus, as it is everywhere. However, since the fungus does thrive in warm moist areas , there are certain areas one should avoid or use with caution. Shower floors, locker rooms, and swimming pools are suspected of being sources of the fungus, although there are no studies proving this fact. Nail polish and acrylic nails also make the nail less “breathable” and make the nail more susceptible to fungal infection. Fungi are everywhere — in the air, the dust, and the soil. Hygienic measures such as spraying socks and footgear sound sensible, and perhaps these measures can even help a little bit. However, avoiding tight, nonbreathing shoes or steering clear of athletic facility floors may very well be the best prevention available. Daily washing of the feet and drying between the toes can help to prevent nail fungus. The fungi carried on the coats of pets, like cats and dogs, don’t often cause nail fungus. Wearing white socks does not help.
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Top 3 Reasons To Treat Nail Fungus
One of the most common reasons patients want to treat their nail fungus is to improve the appearance of their nails.
This is especially true of fingernails, but even toenails can be a concern during the summer when they are more visible. Nail fungus can cause embarrassment and some sufferers stop activities, such as yoga or swimming, so that others will not see their toenails.
Pain and Mobility
If left untreated, fungal nail infections can cause pain and mobility problems. These can occur as the nails thicken when the infection progresses. It may become uncomfortable to wear closed shoes and to walk, exercise or stand. For this reason, early treatment is recommended before the infection becomes more severe or has spread to other toenails.
Recurrence and Transmission
Although nail fungus rarely causes serious health risks, the nail can become a fungal reservoir leading to recurrent fungal infections of the skin. These can cause fissures or cracks, leaving the feet more vulnerable to secondary bacterial infections. People with a weakened immune system, such as diabetes or peripheral vascular disease, may be more susceptible to both fungal infections and other secondary infections, resulting from it such as cellulitis.
Special Groups At Risk For Complications In Severe Onychomycosis
Delaying the treatment of a nail fungus until its late stages can be excruciatingly challenging. For some people with other diseases/conditions, avoiding the onset of severe onychomycosis is essential. The dangers that involve the end-stage nail disease can lead to an even more harmful situation for them.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Toenail Fungus
Nails infected are generally thicker than usual and maybe distorted or molded strangely. They are easy to break. Nails may look yellow with a fungus. A white dot appears on the nail sometimes and then gets larger. It can tighten and even separate the nail from the bed when this type of fungus builds up under your nail. In more severe cases, the fungal infection of the nail can spread around your nail area to the skin as well.
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Nail Fungal Infection Treatment
Prescription medicines can treat a fungal nail infection. Oral antifungal medicines help a new nail grow. This will replace the infected nail. You may need to take antifungal medicine for 6 to 12 weeks. Some oral medicines are not safe for people who have liver problems. They are not safe for people who have a history of congestive heart failure. Tell your doctor if you have one of these conditions. Your doctor will decide which medicine is right for you.
Apply topical treatments to the top of your nail. Topical medicines usually do not cure fungal nail infections.
In severe cases, a doctor might remove the nail completely. It can take several months to a year for the infection to go away.
What Is Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is a widespread fungal infection that affects the toenails. Less commonly, nail fungus infects the fingernails. Nail fungus is also called onychomycosis.
Toenail fungus happens when fungi get between the toenail and the toenail bed . This usually happens through a crack or cut in your toe.
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What Causes A Nail Fungal Infection
The infection is usually caused by exposure to a fungus. The fungus grows in wet, dark conditions. The fungus grows when your feet are in warm, sweaty environment . It enters your nail through a crack in the nail.
Nail fungal infections happen at any age. They are more common in adults older than 60 years of age. They are common in people who have diabetes or circulation problems. They also are common in people with a weakened immune system. Men are more likely than women to get fungal nail infections.
Treating Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment may not be necessary in mild cases of fungal nail infection. For more severe or troublesome cases, antifungal medication may be recommended.
A fungal nail infection is unlikely to get better without treatment, but if you’re not bothered by it you might decide it’s not worth treating because treatment can take a long time, may cause side effects, and isn’t always effective.
Whether or not you decide to have treatment, you should still follow the self-help advice below to help stop the condition getting worse or spreading to others.
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What Is Green Nail Syndrome And Why Isnt A Fungal Infection
For a long time now, most individuals have regarded green nails as fungal infections. However, this is untrue. Green nail syndrome is a nail infection that is caused by a bacterium known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa. On the other hand, fungal infections are caused by fungi. This means that green nails cannot be classified as a fungal infection. Because green nail syndrome is caused by bacteria, it occurs more frequently than a fungal infection and is also easier to treat than the latter.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Nail Fungus
Although some people may refer to these alternative treatments as quack science, there appears to be a little more to these homemade remedies since many individuals have used them to cure their conditions. However, more research still needs to be conducted on the success rate of home remedies for nail fungus.
Some common and supposedly effective alternative treatments include:
According to Dr. Josh Axe of the Exodus Health Center, apple cidar vinegar not only helps to soothe sunburns, balance pH in the body, manage blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss, its also an ingredient that contains anti-fungal properties. As such, many sufferers of fungal nail infection have now turned to this healthy food to cure their conditions.
The acidic properties of apple cidar vinegar prevent nail fungus from spreading. At the same time, apple cidar vinegar helps to get rid of dead skin cells while killing bacteria and fungi.
Simply mix it with water in equal parts then soak the infected nails for up to 30 minutes in the solution. Repeat this process daily and pat dry the infected nails after soaking.
Another study conducted by Russian researchers showed that a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide had been instrumental in killing off fungus at the radioactive Chernobyl site.
For this remedy, one should simply apply lemon juice on the infected nail for about 30 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
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Is It Possible To Prevent The Recurrence Of Nail Fungus
Tinea pedis, also known as athlete’s foot or foot fungus, can cause recurrence of fungal nails. Therefore, it is important to manage this condition. One can apply over-the-counter antifungal medicines such as clotrimazole or terbinafine cream as directed to affected skin. Keeping footwear and socks clean can be helpful. You can also use portable UV light sanitizers to disinfect shoes.
What Other Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Fungal Nails
Here are some other conditions you may have instead of fungal nails:
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About Fungal Nail Infection
Many people develop a fungal nail infection at some point in their life. It’s not usually serious, but can be unpleasant and difficult to treat.
The infection develops slowly and causes the nail to become discoloured, thickened and distorted.
Toenails are more frequently affected than the fingernails.
The medical name for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis.
Structure Of The Nail
Nails are made from a protein called keratin. This is the same protein that makes up skin and hair. Nails grow from cells that multiply within the base of the nail, then layer on top of each other and harden. This is called keratinisation.The strength, thickness and growth rate of nails are characteristics that we inherit from our parents. The structures of the nail include:
- Nail matrix where nail growth occurs, tucked under the skin behind the nail
- Nail plate the visible part of the nail
- Nail bed the nail plate sits on top of the nail bed. The nail plate looks pink because of the blood-rich capillaries in the nail bed
- Lunula the crescent-moon shape that you can sometimes see at the base of the nail plate
- Nail folds the slender skin grooves that hold the nail plate in place
- Cuticle the flap of thin tissue over the base of the nail plate.
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About Nail Fungus
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Affects Ears Fingers Nails Toes And Genitals
Fungal infections are some of the most common infections, affecting various parts of the body like, ears, fingers, nails, toes, genitals etc. Nail fungus is one such infection.
Onychomycosis is the name of the type of fungus that causes infection on nails both toenails and fingernails. This infection takes time to develop so you might not notice is initially.
Fungi are always present in your body alongside bacteria. The nail becomes infected when there is an overgrowth of fungus on or under the nail.
This infection is communicable and can spread via direct or indirect contact. For example, if you borrow an infected persons shoes or gloves, you too might catch the infection.
The fungus develops in warm, moist environment. This is why it usually affects toenails rather than fingernails as your feet are mostly covered while you wear shoes which provide the fungus an ideal environment to grow.
Causes and Risk Factors for Nail Fungus
Living or working in a hot, humid environment
Constantly covered feet
Diabetic patients, who have reduced blood circulation in their feet
Direct contact with someone who has nail fungus
Minor cuts or injuries around the nail
Using communal showers or public swimming pools
Sweating a lot, especially in your feet and on your hands
A weak immune system
Medications used to treat toenail fungus include terbinafine and itraconazole . Laser treatment is also available but it is expensive and doesnt guarantee results.
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Commonly known to the layman as fungal nail infection, Onychomycosis is an infection that occurs when fungus forms beneath the nails. The condition can develop as a result of poor foot hygiene, continuous exposure to moist environments, wearing unbreathable synthetic socks, accumulation of sweat in shoes, imbalanced pH levels of the skin, a compromised immune system, and conditions like diabetes that constricts blood flow.Upon infection, Onychomycosis will cause the nail to thicken, discolor, and eventually crumble into pieces. If left untreated, the condition can become painful. As the infection progresses, areas around the infected toenails or fingernails may swell and begin to give off a foul smell too.
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