How Contagious Is Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is a contagious fungal skin infection that can be spread directly or indirectly. It is most commonly spread in warm, moist environments. These locations typically include public swimming pools, communal showers, gyms, and locker rooms. To help prevent obtaining a fungal infection, it may be beneficial to wear appropriate footwear when you are in these locations. Some symptoms of this condition may include discoloration of the affected toenail, thickening of the toenail, and in more severe cases, the toenail may become brittle and begin to break off. In order to safely treat a toenail fungal infection, its suggested that you consult with a podiatrist for professional care and advice.
If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, contact Dr. Manx D. Quayle of Aurora Foot and Ankle Surgical Specialists. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
- Warped or oddly shaped nails
- Yellowish nails
- Buildup of bits and pieces of nail fragments under the nail
- Brittle, broken, thickened nail
If self-care strategies and over-the-counter medications does not help your fungus, your podiatrist may give you a prescription drug instead. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience a repeat infection in the future.
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Toenail Fungus Is Catchy And Not In A Good Way Learn How To Avoid Getting Infected
Clip. Clip. Clip. Most of your toenails are smooth and the nail-beds are light pink and easy to cut. But one toenail is thicker than the others, its a dull yellowish color, and it curls inward. Theres debris underneath and a slight smell. You have toenail fungus! Its an embarrassing condition that takes a long time to cure. And we bet you are wondering how you even got it in the first place.
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is the same type of fungus that causes athletes foot. Its spread through spores and its quite contagious. Somewhere along the line you picked up some fungal spores and the keratin in your nails is their tasty treat.
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Ways To Protect Your Family From Toenail Fungus
by Tom Truong, DPM | Feb 7, 2017 | Toenail Fungus
Families spend a lot of time close together. This can be great for having fun, sharing meals, and generally enjoying each others company. However, it does put family members at a higher risk for sharing unpleasant things, like illnesses and infections. The more contagious something is, like fungal nails, the more likely it will spread through a family. Fortunately, there are ways you can help protect your family from toenail fungus.
Toenail fungus is a highly-contagious, easy-to-spread, hard-to-treat infection. It thrives in warm, damp environments, like pools, locker rooms, and even showers. It transfers to other surfaces on contact, like your feet or things like towels and footwear. Preventing the infection is much better for your family than trying to treat it.
Protection And Treatment Outside Your Home
- Wear shower shoes or flip flops in communal areas. Its not just walking through locker rooms barefoot thats a problemwear your footwear as you shower.
- The American Podiatric Medical Association recommends not using nail polish on infected toenails.
- Ask your salon about how they sanitize their implements. Metal tools should be sanitized in high-temperature autoclaves, but often they are just allowed to soak in disinfectant. Used pumice stones can also harbor bacteria.
- Buy professional pedicure tools and ask your pedicurist to use your tools. Let him or her know not to cut cuticles, just to push them back. While sharing nail polish at the salon doesnt seem to be a problem due to the chemicals in the polish, better safe than sorry. Bonus: You can do your own touch-ups if you use your own nail polish.
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Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus
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Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium, is a common nail condition affecting millions of people in the United States. Fungal nail infections can develop on the nail from various organisms such as molds, yeasts, and fungi. This usually occurs after these organisms come into contact with a cracked nail or skin surrounding the nail as the opening provides a portal of entry for these organisms.
Toenail Fungus Prescription Medications
Sometimes prescription medications are needed to treat a toenail infection that just wont go away with natural remedies or over-the-counter medication in a few months. In this case, prescription-strength antifungal medication can eradicate stubborn onychomycosis.
Topical medications often are effective in treating mild to moderate toenail fungus. Topical solutions may include medicated nail polishes or liquid medications. Loprox , Penlac , Kerydin , and Jublia are among the top prescription drugs for toenail fungus.
Oral medications can come in capsules, tablets, or liquid. Some common prescriptions are Diflucan , Lamisil , Onmel , and Sporanox .
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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.
When To See A Doctor
In most cases, toenail fungus is considered a cosmetic problem. Still, it may cause serious complications for some people.
If you have diabetes, toenail fungus may lead to foot ulcers or other foot problems. According to a 2012 study, chronic toenail fungus is a significant risk factor for bacterial cellulitis of the leg.
If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you shouldnt use home remedies for toenail fungus. Contact your doctor for the appropriate course of action.
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Nail Removal Home Remedies And Laser Treatment
In the most serious instances of toenail fungus infection, the toenail may be removed surgically or dissolved with acid. This can be done to just a portion of the nail in the hope that the remaining nail will grow back healthy. In cases where the entire toenail has to be removed, artificial nails and products using light-cured resins to form a temporary covering can be used to protect the underlying tissue until the nail grows back.
If you prefer to go the home-remedy route, such as applying tea tree oil or Vicks VapoRub to your nails, keep in mind that the effectiveness of these products for treating toenail fungus hasn’t been well studied, and they are not recommended by podiatrists.
Finally, the Food and Drug Administration has approved several laser devices for temporary increase in clear nails in patients with onychomycosis. But while laser treatments are vigorously marketed, clinical trials of lasers have reported mixed results, and the treatments may not be covered by health insurance. If you wish to try laser treatment of toenail fungus, speak to your doctor about what to expect from the treatment, and call your insurance carrier to find out whether the treatment will be covered.
Additional reporting by Susan Jara.
Tips To Prevent Nail Fungus
Nail fungus is opportunistic, so use preventative methods to avoid nail infections.
The best ways to prevent toenail fungus are to:
- Wear socks that prevent moisture from accumulating. Synthetic fibers are best, and 100% cotton and wool socks should be avoided.
- Treat and bandage any open wounds on the feet and toes.
- Wear shoes in public showers and around swimming pools.
- Disinfect any tools used on the nails, such as trimmers.
- Clip toenails straight across to avoid ingrown nails that allow nail fungus to enter.
- Wash your feet with warm water and soap daily, and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Wear comfortable shoes that allow adequate airflow.
- Treat athletes foot as soon as possible.
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How To Prevent Infections Or Reinfections
Fungus grows in warm, moist, dark environments, so the tight, dark, sweaty confines of your shoe present a perfect setting for fungus to flourish. In order to fight infection, you must work to keep your feet dry and away from any spores.
Here are some tips to avoid getting infected or having the infection get worse.
When To See Your Doctor About Nail Infections
A mild case of onychomycosis may not be bothersome or require treatment. But as the condition worsens, you may experience:
- Thickened nails
- Discoloration, often yellow-brown or whitish coloring
- Change in nail texture, such as brittle or crumbling nails
- Change in the shape of your nailbed
- Odor ranging from mild to foul
If you notice any of these symptoms, you can try remedies such as:
- Over-the-counter products: Several antifungals are available without a prescription. File your nails then soak them in warm water. Dry the nail thoroughly before applying the medicated creams or ointments.
- Nail grooming: Keeping your nails trimmed can reduce pain and pressure from debris and nail buildup.
If the condition worsens, reach out to your primary care doctor or a dermatologist. To diagnose nail fungus, your doctor likely will take a sample of debris, nail or surrounding skin and send it to a laboratory.
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How Do Dermatologists Treat A Fungal Nail Infection
Treatment usually begins with your dermatologist trimming your infected nail, cutting back each infected nail to the place where it attaches to your finger or toe. Your dermatologist may also scrape away debris under the nail. This helps get rid of some fungus.
To completely get rid of the infection, most people also need one or more of the following treatments:
Medicine you apply to the nail: If you have a mild infection, a medicine that you apply to your nails may get rid of the infection. This treatment helps keep new fungus out while the nails grow. Fingernails typically grow out in four to six months. Toenails take longer, usually takes 12 to 18 months.
Probably the most difficult part of this treatment is remembering to use it as often as prescribed. Some treatments must be applied every day. Others you apply once a week. To get the best results, its essential that you apply these medicines exactly as directed.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the following medicines that you apply to the nail to treat nail fungus:
Side effects from these medicines are generally mild. Possible side effects include redness and swelling, an ingrown toenail, and stinging or burning when you apply the medicine. In clinical trials, none of these side effects caused patients to stop using the treatment.
The FDA has approved the following systemic medicines to treat nail fungus:
Toenail Fungus Prescription Oral
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Revolutionary Nail Fungus Laser Therapy Has An 80% Success Rate
Instead of medications or debridement, Dr. Frankel offers a laser therapy treatment with an 80% success rate at permanently treating nail fungus. Its painless and performed in-office with three 10-minute procedures every four weeks. For some patients, additional treatments may be required.
The laser therapy method uses safe light energy that kills the fungus while protecting the surrounding nail, allowing new, healthy nail to grow back in its place.
For strong and beautiful nails, call Frankel Foot & Ankle to treat your nail fungus.
Preventing The Spread Of Toenail Fungus
Fortunately, preventing the problem is possible with just a few basic precautions. Here are three simple ways to protect your family from toenail fungus:
- Wear the right footwear Certain shoes make infections more likely to set in. Have your family stick to shoes made from natural materials that allow air to circulate instead of trapping it. They should choose moisture-wicking socks to pull perspiration away from your toes.
- Protect your feet in high-risk places When your family goes to the pool or uses public facilities, avoid going barefoot. Make sure your family uses sandals or shower shoes to prevent touching contaminated surfaces directly.
- Consider pre-treating for fungus You cant always prevent contact with the fungus that causes the infection, but regularly using anti-fungal products, like sprays or powders, on feet and shoes can help prevent the pathogen from taking hold.
Although you raise children to share, fungus is not one of those things you want to spread around your family. The more effort you put into preventing the problem, the less youll have to worry about one family member getting it and sharing it with the rest of you.
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On My First Visit Dr Patel Diagnosed The Problem As Plantar Fasciitis And Began Treatment
I was dealing with nearly unbearable pain in my left foot. I was barely able to get through each day. I was sure my neuropathy was the problem. I went to a local podiatrist who told me the only problem I had was the neuropathy in my feet and I needed to see a neurologist. After conferring with my family doctor he referred me to Dr. Sanjay Patel.
On my first visit, Dr. Patel diagnosed the problem as Plantar Fasciitis and began treatment. After following Dr. Patels advice I no longer have pain in my left foot.
Baking Soda And Vinegar
Before you put them on, sprinkle baking soda into each shoe to absorb odor. It also acts to decrease the activity of fungal spores. Fill a spray bottle with diluted white or apple cider vinegar and spray it into your shoes whenever youre not going to wear them. It can help slow down the growth of fungal spores. Dont worry, the vinegar smell will disappear as it dries. Use both together to keep bacteria under control.
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Unexpected Ways In Which To Get Toenail Fungus:
1. You might have done it to yourself! If you have athletes foot, that can spread to your toenails. You can also catch foot fungus by walking barefoot in a communal area such as a gym locker room, swimming pool, campground shower, or dorm shower.
2. Listen to your mom! Dont share personal items. Another way to get a fungal infection is by sharing items such as towels, toenail clippers, shoes, or socks. Be sure to put on those silly little sockies at the shoe store before you try on new shoes.
3. And you thought that pedicure was your big reward! Unfortunately for you, toe fungus was the prize. Some salons do not sanitize their equipment properly between clients. Additionally, when pedicurists cut the cuticle, they leave your skin open to infection by sneaky fungus.
4. Those killer stilettos pose a peril to your toes. Wearing tight shoes or hosiery which have been squeezing your toes and traumatizing them, leaves them open to infection.
5. People with weakened immune systems, poor circulation, or diabetes are more likely to get infected.
6. Men are more likely to be infected than women. Women often wear open-toed shoes, so maybe they air their feet out more.
Toenail Fungus Can Spread From One Person To Another
Its completely true that toenail fungus can spread from one person to another. This may happen to your family members who usually share your items. Toenail fungus is contagious via skin contact with the affected skin and objects. So, avoid touching or sharing personal items with infected people.
Sharing infected items can cause toenail fungus to spread to other people
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When Should I Call The Doctor
In rare cases, toenail fungus can cause an infection called cellulitis. Without prompt treatment, cellulitis may pose a serious danger to your health.
You should seek treatment guidance from a trusted healthcare provider if you have:
- Circulation problems.
- Redness, pain or pus near the toenail.
- Weakened immune system.
Toenail Fungus Can Spread Internally
Toenail fungus can also enter the blood, causing a fungal blood infection. Its symptoms may include:
This problem mostly occurs in those who are at the following risks:
- Have serious problems with fungal infections.
- Have undergone chemotherapy.
- Have diabetes, severe burns or renal failure.
- Have HIV.
So, get your toenail fungus treated immediately. And contact a doctor if you think youre experiencing a fungal blood infection.
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