How The Test Is Performed
The health care provider may use a cotton swab to collect a sample from an open skin rash or skin sore.
A sample of skin may need to be taken. This is called a skin biopsy. Before the skin sample is removed, you will likely receive a shot of numbing medicine to prevent pain.
A small sample of a fingernail or toenail may be taken. The sample is sent to a lab. There, it is placed in a special dish . It is then watched to see if bacteria, viruses, or fungi grow. It may take up to 3 weeks to get results of a nail culture. Further tests can be done to identify the specific germ that is causing your problem. This can help your provider determine the best treatment.
What Tests Might Be Done
Your doctor may be able to tell that you have a fungal nail infection just by looking at your toes or your fingers. But they may do some tests to be sure.
They may decide to take a sample of your nails. The clippings can be tested to see if fungus is in them.
If you do have nail fungus, you and your doctor will decide what treatment is best for you.
Factors That Increase Risk
Although fungal nail infections can affect any age group, they are more prevalent in older adults and patients with HIV, diabetes mellitus, poor peripheral circulation, peripheral neuropathy , or a weakened immune system. Studies on the mechanisms of human nail diseases report there may be a genetic component that makes patients more susceptible to dermatophyte infections, but other studies suggest that patients are more susceptible to fungal nail infections because of underlying systemic problems that place them at risk. Trauma to the nail increases the risk of developing onychomycosis, as does exposure to individuals infected with the condition. The possibility of contracting the infection increases in households and co-habitable areas with infected members and in communal environments with damp conditions and wet floor surfaces where large numbers of people are often barefoot . Nail salons with jacuzzi-style foot baths, improperly sterilized instruments, especially overly invasive pedicurists who reuse porous salon equipment also increase the likelihood of someone contracting a fungal nail infection.Patients should be informed of the contagious nature of fungal infections including transmission means such as skin-to-skin contact and shedding of infected dead skin cells on clothing, bedding, and towels. Many patients are unaware of the risk for cross-infection to other nails and other parts of the foot, as well as to other parts of their body.
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Fungal Nail Infection Symptoms
Because the toes and feet are often exposed to damp, warm areas, where the infection is spread, fungal nail infections affect the toes more than the fingers. Your feet are also more likely to be exposed to fungal infections if you:
- Spend time at swimming pools
- Walk around a lot in locker rooms
- Wear the same pair of damp, sweaty sneakers all the time
- Injure your toenail
At first, you may have no outward symptoms. But over time, your nails may:
- Have white spots appear on the surface
- Turn white, yellow, green or brown
- Grow thicker than normal or, in some cases, thinner than normal
- Become brittle, with broken or jagged edges
- Change shape, curling up or down
- Lift off of the nail bed
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:
- wash the affected area and dry it thoroughly
- carefully apply the paste to the infected nails
- cover the nails with plasters and leave them for 24 hours
- wash the paste off the next day and scrape away the softened parts of the nail
- repeat this process each day for 2 to 3 weeks
Once no more infected parts of the nail can be removed, ask your pharmacist for antifungal nail paint to prevent re-infection as the nail regrows over the next few months.
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Know Not To Be Afraid
Surgery can be nerve-wracking and scary. Nobody likes pain, hospitals, scalpels, cuts, and anesthesia. The whole idea can be very unpleasanteven reading about it can turn the stomach!
But, it is very important to remember that thousands of people have experienced nail removal and have lived to tell about it! While there may be some discomfort and pain following the procedure, if a qualified doctor or other medical professional has concluded this is the best treatment for your specific problem, let that give all the comfort it should. We are very blessed to live in a world where so many health problems can be easily corrected!
How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Nail Fungus
To find out if a patient has nail fungus, a dermatologist examines your nails and nearby skin. Its important to check the skin because the fungus can spread. You may already have a skin infection caused by fungus like athletes foot.
To get rid of the infection, you will need to treat all infected areas.
Before giving you the diagnosis, your dermatologist may also take some samples. Collecting a bit of debris from beneath a nail, trimming off part your nail, or scraping off a bit of skin can be very helpful. In a lab, these samples can be examined under a microscope to find out whats causing the problem.
Are you hiding an infected nail with nail polish?
Be sure to ask your dermatologist if you can wear nail polish while treating nail fungus.
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How To Correctly Cut Nails
While actually cutting your nails, you should cut them straight across to prevent ingrown toenails from developing from jagged or pointed corners, which is very painful. You should keep them short for hygiene, but avoid cutting them too short since cuts and exposed skin on the nail bed increases the risk for further infections.
Once you are finished clipping your nails, dispose of the nail clipping in a safe way so that others are not exposed to the fungus and risk infection. A very important step that patients often forget is to clean the clippers after use. Use alcohol or diluted bleach as disinfectants to clean off the clippers after every use. If you do not do this, you will be reinfecting yourself every time you use the clippers.
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Learn About Emotional Distress And Its Mental Health Resources
Nails are the most common form of self-injury and can be a sign of underlying emotional distress. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, there are resources available to help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free, and confidential support for people in distress, as well as prevention and ID, consults with Clinical Decision Support tools that help providers quickly find the best antibiotic for their patients. AS Solutions CDS tools are designed to work with any electronic health record and are available as a subscription service. AS Solutions algorithms use resistance data, patient demographics, and clinical signs and symptoms to recommend the most effective antimicrobial for each patient.
- Access to 22 infectious disease trained PharmDs by phone or email
Does Tea Tree Oil Work
Results from scientific studies supporting the use of tea tree oil to treat nail fungus are mixed. Some of the research points to tea tree oils potential as an antifungal, but more studies are needed.
According to a 2013 study, tea tree oil was effective in reducing growth of the fungus Trichophyton rubrum in nail infections. T. rubrum is a fungus that can cause infections such as athletes foot and nail fungus. Improvements were seen after 14 days.
This study used an in vitro model, which is sometimes called a test-tube experiment. In in vitro studies, the experiment is done in a test tube instead of on an animal or human. Larger human studies are needed to expand on these findings.
Combining tea tree oil with standard medicated creams is also an option. A small 1999 study found that participants were able to successfully manage toenail fungus by using a cream that contained butenafine hydrochloride and tea tree oil.
After 16 weeks of treatment, 80 percent of participants who used this cream cured their toenail fungus with no relapses. No one in the placebo group cured their nail fungus. Further studies are needed to determine which of these ingredients is most useful in treating nail fungus.
Results of a 1994 study found pure tea tree oil was equally as effective as the antifungal clotrimazole in treating fungal toenail infections. Clotrimazole is available both over the counter and by prescription.
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How Do I Get Ready
Before the surgery, your doctor will probably give you a physical exam and talk to you about your medical history, such as other illnesses and surgeries youÃ¢ve had. They will also want to know if you have:
- Allergies to latex or tape
- Bleeding disorders
- Medicines you take on a regular basis, including over-the-counter supplements and pain relievers like aspirin
On the day of your surgery, you can shower, eat, and take your usual medicines, unless your doctor has said not to.
Clipping Nails With Nail Fungus
Clipping nails with nail fungus can be tricky. Toenail fungus usually presents in the form of thickened, yellow toenails. If you have nail fungus, you may be wondering how to go about cutting your toenails. Since they are much thicker and more difficult to cut than healthy nails. Salons often are unable to cut infected nails. In such cases, you might find your only option is to get them trimmed by a podiatrist. Although, it can be inconvenient. However, with the right tools and equipment, you can easily trim your toenails on your own.
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Toenail Fungus Home Care
Sometimes itâs possible to treat your toenail fungus at home. You can try:
- Over the counter antifungal creams or ointments. File or cut off any white markings on your nails. Soak your nails in water and dry off before you put on the medicated cream.
- Special nail care. If you keep your nails trimmed, it can reduce the pressure and pain you feel. You can also thin your nail bed by filing it down. This can help antifungal creams get to the problem easier.
How Do I Know If I Have A Fungal Nail Infection
Because other infections can affect the nail and mimic symptoms of a fungal nail infection, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to see a doctor. Theyll take a scraping of the nail and look under a microscope for signs of fungus.
In some cases, your doctor may send the sample to a lab for analysis and identification.
Over-the-counter products arent usually recommended to treat nail infections since they dont provide reliable results. Instead, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication, such as:
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Toenail Fungus Treatment Options
Toenail fungus can be treated by a variety of options. There are over-the-counter products as well as options that can be prescribed by a podiatrist. Common over-the-counter treatments are topical antifungal creams, lotions, and products that can be applied directly to the nail. For mild cases that are caught early, an at-home treatment may help but may not be most effective in the long term. If you have a condition such as diabetes, a problem with circulation, or a weakened immune system, a toenail fungal infection can lead to other serious complications.
If your toenail fungus does not respond to at-home treatment, consult with your podiatrist for an evaluation. Your podiatrist will examine your feet and nails to determine what treatment option will work best for your condition. A skin scraping may be done to find out what type of fungus is causing the infection. Factors such as the type of fungus causing the infection and the severity of your condition will determine what treatment will work for your specific needs. Often a combination of treatments may be used to clear up the infection. Toenail fungus could recur after treatment even if the treatment was successful.
Some common toenail fungus treatments include:
- Prescription topical creams
- Topical solutions such as a medicated nail polish
- Laser treatment to remove the damaged area of the nail or skin
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Unsafe Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus
Although there are many effective home remedies for toenail fungus, there are still some natural and household products that can cause more harm than good. For example, you should never use bleach to get rid of toenail fungus. Its use may be toxic to the skin and cause severe skin irritation when not used properly.
Additionally, you should never use overly hot water when performing the variety of foot soaks mentioned above. Excessive heat to the nails and skin will not kill fungusand extreme temperatures may injure the skin causing burns, blisters, and sometimes permanent skin damage. Always use lukewarm water for soaking.
Urine is another home remedy that should be avoided. Previously, it had been believed to be effective against fungal infections due to its urea contents. While urea can help soften the nail bed to make it easier for antifungal medication to be absorbed, urine does not contain enough urea to be effective.
And, finally, do not remove or excessively trim toenails at home. Fungal toenails should be properly trimmed and maintained on a regular basis, but do not remove too much nail. If toenail clipping or removal is not done properly, damage to the nail bed may cause additional injury to the nail, which can be irreversible. There also is the risk of causing bacterial infections when the damaged nail is not removed properly.
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National Walking Month 2022
As a team we are passionate about walking so National Walking Week is a campaign we can get behind. Throughout the month of May we have been sharing walkingtips and advice across our social media platforms, as well as challenges andsome of the teams favourite walks.
Here is a roundup of our key points for National WalkingMonth.
- 79% of those surveyed spent four to ten hours on their feet
- 34% could be on their feet for eight to ten hours
- 30% felt that the quality of their work and their mental wellbeing were affected within the first four hours of being on their feet
- 41% felt that their mental wellbeing was being affected by being eight hours on their feet
- Check if your shoes fit properly look at your shoe width, depth, length
- Does your footwear meet the health and safety requirements for your job?Some jobs require certain safety features depending on your work environment eg toe protection, anti-slip
- Is the shoe supportive? Does the shoe provide adequate support at the heel and arch.Can you fit in additional support such as foot orthoses?
- Does the shoe stay on? Do you have laces, velcro, zips, to keep your shoes on your feet. Ill-fitting footwear can increase your chances of slips and falls. We have some lacing tips on our social media to help you lace your shoes to your feet requirement. Check out our Facebook or Instagram pages for more information.
Tippytoe Laser Nail Fungus Remover
Like the other machines in our list, this laser treatment device from TippyToe uses pulse laser radiation and blue light energy to zap away those nuisance fungus spores.
It boasts 905nm infrared cold laser light therapy and 465nm blue light for disinfection.
Once again, the machine requires 7 minutes application per nail per treatment. And you will need to use it every day to see the best results. Patience over time will pay off with the machine having a good record of eliminating fungus in fingernails, toenails, nail beds and cuticles in those who stick out the treatment.
This is a tiny piece of kit that will be suitable for anybody who travels often and needs a laser treatment device that isnt going to take up too much space.
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What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose Toenail Fungus
Your healthcare provider will probably take a small sample from underneath your nail to further analyze it. Viewing the cells under a microscope can confirm a toenail fungus diagnosis. If the initial test is negative, a scraping can be sent to see if the fungus grows out in a culture. This also helps your healthcare provider identify the type of fungus.
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San Antonio Laser Toenail Fungus Treatment
The reason toenail fungus is difficult to treat is because the fungus is underneath the nail, which makes it hard for topical medications to reach the fungus. The benefit of Laser Therapy is that the light beam will penetrate through the nail and vaporize the nail fungus on contact. PinPointe foot laser is considered the gold standard in toenail fungus treatment with a success rate of 85% and generally only requiring one treatment. However, more severe toenail fungus infection may require additional treatments.
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