Do you have a fungal infection on your nails? If so, you're not alone. Nail fungus is a common infection that affects millions of people each year. There are many different treatment options available, but before you start treatment, it's important to understand what causes nail fungus and the risks associated with treatment. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of nail fungus, the different treatment options available, and the risks associated with each option. We will also provide tips for preventing nail fungus.
What is Nail Fungus?
Nail fungus, also known as Onychomycosis, is a common condition that can affect both fingernails and toenails. It is caused by a type of fungi called dermatophytes, which are parasites that feed on the keratin in nails. The condition is usually not painful, but it can be unsightly. Symptoms of nail fungus include yellow or brown discolouration of the nails, brittleness, and separation of the nail from the nail bed.
Symptoms of Nail Fungus
Fungal infections of the nails are often characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:
Nails that are thickened.
Crumbly or ragged.
Nails that separate from the nail bed or crack easily.
Discolouration of the nails.
Which may be yellowish or brownish.
Causes of Nail Fungus
Fungal infections of the nails are caused by fungi that invade the nails. The most common type of fungus is dermatophyte, which is also the cause of athlete's foot and Ringworm. Other types of fungi that can infect the nails include Candida (yeast) and moulds. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, so they often grow in sweaty shoes or socks, in public showers, or on towels that are shared with others.
Risk Factors for Nail Fungus
Nail fungus is more common in toenails than fingernails because fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, and shoes create the perfect environment for them to grow. Other risk factors include:
- Having athlete's foot.
- Walking barefoot in public places, such as locker rooms or pools.
- Working in a nail salon.
- Having diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood circulation.
- Having a skin or nail injury or infection.
- Have yellowing nails, thickened nails, or crumbling nails.
- Wearing tight-fitting shoes or socks that don't allow your feet to breathe.
Treatment for Nail Fungus
If you have a nail fungus, it's important to see a doctor so they can prescribe the appropriate treatment. Nail fungus is difficult to get rid of and often comes back if it's not treated properly.
There are many different treatments available for nail fungus, but not all of them are effective. Some common treatments include:
• Antifungal creams or ointments - These can be applied directly to the affected nails. They're usually used for mild infections and need to be applied daily for several weeks. They may not be effective for more severe infections.
• Oral antifungal medications - These are taken by mouth and are only used for severe infections. They can have side effects, so they're usually only prescribed when other treatments haven't worked.
• Laser therapy - This involves using a laser to kill the fungi. It's a newer treatment and it's not clear how effective it is.
• Surgery - In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the infected nails. This is usually only done for severe infections that haven't responded to other treatments.
Nail fungus is difficult to get rid of and often comes back if it's not treated properly. If you think you have an infection, see a doctor so they can prescribe the appropriate treatment.
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Prevention of Nail Fungus
You can help prevent nail fungus by taking these steps:
- Keep your nails clean and trimmed. Fungi thrive in moist, dark environments. So it's important to keep your nails clean and free of debris. This will also help you spot an infection early.
- Dry your feet thoroughly after bathing. Make sure to dry between your toes. Fungi love moisture, so it's important to keep your feet as dry as possible.
- Wear socks made of natural fibres. Cotton or wool socks will help absorb sweat and keep your feet dry. Avoid wearing tight-fitting shoes or synthetic materials such as nylon that don't allow your feet to breathe.
- Don't share nail clippers or files. Fungi can spread from one person to another through shared tools. If you must share, make sure to disinfect the tools before and after use.
- Wear shower shoes in public places. This will help protect your feet from fungi that live on floors and in showers.
If you think you have a nail fungus, it's important to see a doctor so they can diagnose the infection and prescribe the appropriate treatment. Nail fungus is difficult to get rid of and often comes back if it's not treated properly.
Home Remedies for Nail Fungus
Vinegar. Soak your nails in equal parts vinegar and warm water for about 20 minutes daily. Tea Tree Oil. Apply tea tree oil to the affected area with a cotton swab two to three times daily. Oregano Oil. Olive Leaf Extract. Orange Oil. Grapefruit Seed Extract.
Nail fungus is an infection that can affect both your fingernails and toenails. It’s also called onychomycosis or tinea unguium. This condition is caused by fungi, which are tiny organisms that can live in damp places, such as showers or pools. Nail fungus can be difficult to treat, but home remedies may help relieve symptoms.