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How To Treat Nail Infection

Are There Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus

How to prevent and treat nail fungus

The Internet is filled with anecdotal information on how to cure toenail fungus using home remedies. Vinegar is a commonly recommended home remedy. Some people apply various oils such as tea tree oil, coconut oil, essential oils, and oil of cedar leaf to their nails as well. The effectiveness of these home remedies is highly doubtful. Application of household bleach and hydrogen peroxide is also not recommended due to lack of evidence that these treatments work. These agents can also cause unwanted skin irritation. Thickened nails that have been affected by fungus can be difficult to trim. Using topical urea cream will soften the nail and make it easier to trim. These creams do not require a prescription.

Is Fungal Nail Contagious

Rather annoyingly, yes fungal nail infections are very contagious and can be spread either by direct contact or even from touching an infected surface after someone with one has touched. It can be very frustrating as they are trickier to treat in smaller children but easier to spread.;

Luckily, if you have got a fungal nail infection, there are a few options available to you when it comes to treating it.

Why Does It Develop

A fungal nail infection occurs from the overgrowth of fungi in, under, or on the nail. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, so this type of environment can cause them to naturally overpopulate. The same fungi that cause jock itch, athletes foot, and ringworm can cause nail infections.

Fungi that are already present in or on your body can cause nail infections. If you have come in contact with someone else who has a fungal infection, you may have contracted it as well. Fungal infections affect toenails more commonly than fingernails, likely because your toes are usually confined to shoes, where theyre in a warm, moist environment.

If you get a manicure or pedicure at a nail salon, be sure to ask how the staff disinfects their tools and how often they do it. Tools, such as emery boards and nail clippers, can spread fungal infections from person to person if theyre not sanitized.

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How To Cure Nail Fungus

This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support , Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support , Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006. This article has been viewed 326,359 times.

Onychomycosis, or nail fungus, is a common infection that affects toenails and, less frequently, fingernails. It is caused by a group of fungus called dermatophytes, which thrives in warm, moist environments, like your shoes. If you suspect you have a nail infection, try to treat it quickly and routinely, as the fungus will continue to come back if allowed to take hold.

Remedies To Fight Toenail Fungus At Home

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Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is perhaps one of the most common nail disorders. It is a fungal infection that penetrates through chinks in your toenail, cuts in the surrounding skin, or the separation between the nail and the toe, and affects the material below the toenail.

The fungus tends to thrive in certain conditions, such as abnormal body pH, a weakened immune system, continuous exposure to a moist environment including sweaty shoes and socks, poor hygiene, and diabetes.

As embarrassing as this condition may be, simply camouflaging your unsightly toenail, such as painting your nails, without tending to it properly would do you more harm than good. If the infection goes untreated long enough, it could spread to the adjoining skin, to the other toenails, and even perhaps to your fingernails.

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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.

What Is The Treatment For Nail Infections

Most bacterial nail infections go away with antibiotics. These medications kill bacteria that cause infections. Be sure to follow your providers instructions and finish the entire course of antibiotics so the infection doesnt return.

If pus has built up around the nail bed and isnt draining on its own, your provider may drain the pus. After cleaning the area, your provider makes a small cut so the pus can drain. Your provider places a bandage over the cut. You should keep the area clean and replace the bandage when necessary.

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What Causes A Nail Infection

Paronychias are most often caused by common skin bacteria entering the skin around the nail that has been damaged by trauma, such as nail biting, finger sucking, dishwashing, or chemical irritants. Fungal infection also can be a cause of chronic paronychia and is considered particularly in people with the recurrent infection. Paronychia can be confused with herpetic whitlow, which can form tiny pustules on the finger and is caused by a virus, but is not typically located at the nail edge. Herpetic whitlow is not treated with an incision and drainage as can be a paronychia.

Toenail Fungus Prescription Medications

HOW TO TREAT FUNGAL NAIL INFECTION – TINEA UNGUIUM / ONYCHOMYCOSIS

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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Are Oral Medications For Nail Fungus Toxic

The newer drugs are unlikely to cause any liver problems in patients without known liver disease. Blood tests are not needed for once-weekly treatment with fluconazole ; however, people taking longer courses often have their liver function tested before starting the medicine and then retested during the course of treatment. It is important to notify the doctor of all side effects while on the medication. You should tell your doctor of all current medications to prevent potential serious drug interactions.

Complications: What If The Infection Is Left Untreated

If the nail fungus spreads deeper into the nail bed, it will cause the nail to thicken and turn green, yellow, brown, or black. As the infection progresses, the infected nail becomes brittle and pieces of it will start to break off from the toe or finger completely. Should the condition be left untreated, it can spread to other nails or cause skin around the infected nail to become inflamed. In more advanced stages, a foul smell may develop and white or yellow patches may be seen on the exposed nail bed. Over time, severe fungal nail infections can cause permanent damage to the nail root or nail bed.

It can be quite embarrassing to have this condition since this is an infection thats hard to hide. People with Onychomycosis may also find it difficult or painful to wear shoes, walk, or stand for long periods of time if their toenails have been infected severely.

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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.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Nail Infection

How to treat toenail fungus with vicks

Symptoms of paronychia usually develop over several hours or days. Sometimes they take longer to develop. Symptoms appear where the nail meets the skin . The sides of the nail can also be affected.

Paronychia symptoms include:

  • Pain, swelling and tenderness around the nail.
  • Skin that is red and warm to the touch.
  • Pus that builds up under the skin. A white to yellow, pus-filled abscess may form. If an abscess forms, it may require antibiotics and/or drainage.

Untreated, the nail can start to grow abnormally and may have ridges or waves. It may look yellow or green, and it can be dry and brittle. The nail can detach from the nail bed and fall off.

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Assessing Your Toe Infection

  • 1Assess your symptoms. Sometimes it can be hard to tell what kind of infection you have in your toe and if it is serious or not. It could be a simple ingrown toenail or a more serious infection that could spread into the rest of your body. In order to tell the difference you should assess your symptoms.
  • The signs and symptoms of a light infection include: pain and/or tenderness, swelling, redness, and increased warmth in the area.XResearch source
  • The signs and symptoms of a more serious infection include: the formation of pus, red streaks extending from the initial wound, fever.
  • 2Seek medical help if you have the symptoms of a serious infection. Once again, these symptoms include pus, red streaks radiating from the wound, or a fever. If you experience any of these, call your physician for advice right away.XResearch source
  • A serious infection can move from your toe into the rest of your body. A really bad infection can even put your system into shock and threaten your life. Because of the seriousness of this, it is important to get a bad infection looked at by a health professional as soon as possible.
  • If you have cleaned the area thoroughly, applied a good antibiotic, and kept the area bandaged and clean, and it is still hurting or getting more painful or inflamed, then it is time to get it looked at by a medical professional.
  • What Is The Prognosis Of Fungal Nails

    Curing fungal nails can be difficult and treatment can take up to 18 months. Relapse and reinfection are common. Trying to remove or modify your risk factors, if possible, is essential to preventing reinfection. People who have medical illnesses that predispose them to fungal nails can have an even more difficult time eradicating the fungus.

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    Acute And Chronic Paronychia

    DIMITRIS RIGOPOULOS, MD; GEORGE LARIOS, MD, MS; and STAMATIS GREGORIOU, MD, University of Athens Medical School, Andreas Sygros Hospital, Athens, Greece

    ALEVIZOS ALEVIZOS, MD, Health Center of Vyronas, Athens, Greece

    Am Fam Physician.;2008;Feb;1;77:339-346.

    ;Patient information: See related handout on chronic paronychia, written by the authors of this article.

    ; This article exemplifies the AAFP 2008 Annual Clinical Focus on infectious disease: prevention, diagnosis, and management.

    Paronychia is an inflammatory reaction involving the folds of tissue surrounding a fingernail or toenail. The condition is the result of infection and may be classified as acute or chronic. This article discusses the etiology, predisposing factors, clinical manifestation, diagnosis, and treatment of acute and chronic paronychia.

    SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE

    The digital pressure test may be helpful in the early stages of paronychial infection when there is doubt about the presence or extent of an abscess.

    Clinical recommendation Evidence rating References

    There is no evidence that treatment with oral antibiotics is any better or worse than incision and drainage for acute paronychia.

    Topical steroids are more effective than systemic antifungals in the treatment of chronic paronychia.

    Patients with simple chronic paronychia should be treated with a broad-spectrum topical antifungal agent and should be instructed to avoid contact irritants.

    When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Paronychia

    How to Treat Fungal Infection from Artificial Nails

    If you have diabetes or another condition that affects your circulation, or are immunosuppressed, call your provider as soon as you notice signs of infection. You should seek immediate care if you have a condition that affects your bodys ability to fight infection.

    See your provider if symptoms are severe or dont go away after a few days. If symptoms return after treatment, call your provider for an evaluation.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Nail infections can be painful, but they dont usually cause serious health problems. If your job requires you to work with chemicals or detergents, or if your hands are frequently wet, talk to your provider. You can protect your hands and avoid an infection by wearing waterproof gloves that do not irritate the skin. Seek treatment right away if you have diabetes or difficulty fighting infections. Also, see your provider if paronychia comes back after treatment, or if your symptoms worsen or dont go away.

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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.;

    Chemotherapy And Nail Infections

    If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, you’re likely to experience some of the side effects associated with these powerful drugs. Chemotherapy drugs specifically attack the fast-growing cells in your body, such as those in your hair and your nails, which can make you more prone to nail injuries and infections.

    During chemotherapy, you may experience several changes in your nails. They may look bruised, develop blemishes such as lines or indentations, become dry and thin or grow more slowly. Your nails are likely to break more easily, your cuticles may fray, and sometimes a nail may fall off. These side effects are temporary, but they can lead to a more serious problem: infection .

    Chemotherapy suppresses your immune system, which is the set of processes in your body designed to fight infection — with a weaker immune system, your nails and other tissues lose strength. You’ll be more likely to develop an infection through a skin opening where your cuticle has frayed or in the nail itself, and you’ll be less able to combat it. If you suspect that you have a nail infection, see your doctor immediately.

    A variety of nail infections can occur among chemotherapy patients and other people:

    On the next page you’ll learn what physicians can do to treat nail infections.

    The last thing you need when you’re undergoing chemotherapy is a nail infection. Here are some tips for avoiding one:

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    No 3 Home Remedy For Paronychia Nail Infection

    Take equal quantities of both and mix them well. Dip cotton in the solution and apply on the affected area. Keep it for 10 minutes. Repeat religiously four times a day. In few days you should see the infection subsiding. If that is the case, continue using this remedy for 2 months to clear up the infection fully.

    Olive oil has anti-bacterial properties which helps in fighting off the bacteria causing the nail infection. Similarly, tea tree oil is anti-septic, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial.

    Facts You Should Know About Fungal Nails

    9 Best Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus to Prevent Infection

    Many changes in fingernails or toenails may cause people to think they have a fungal infection of the nails, medically known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium.

    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.

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    How Common Is Paronychia

    Paronychia is a common nail condition. Anyone can get a bacterial nail infection, but its more common among people who:

    • Are exposed to irritants: Detergents and other chemicals can irritate the skin and lead to a nail bed infection. People who work with chemicals and dont wear protective gloves have a higher risk.
    • Bite their nails or cuticles: Nail biting or picking at the cuticles can create tiny cracks in the nails or cuts in the skin. Bacteria may enter the skin through these small cuts.
    • Have certain skin conditions: People who have underlying skin conditions may be more likely develop nail infections.
    • Work with water: Bartenders, dishwashers and other people with jobs that require their hands to be wet have a higher risk of developing paronychia.

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