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What Is Finger Nail Fungus

Foot Pain And Discomfort

What is nail fungus?

Generally, nail fungus is painless which can lead it to being ignored and left untreated. Nail fungal infections make the nails thickened and deformed. Initially, they might not seem worrying, but ignoring a nail fungus can become painful overtime. The pain begins when the thickening of the nail causes a hindrance when wearing certain footwear. There might be difficulty in walking, and change in footwear may be deemed necessary.

Dermatologists Explain The Cause Of Nail Fungus

Do you or someone you love suffer from nail fungus? Its a common problem that can happen to anyone, but there are a few individuals who are at a higher risk than others. Did you know that your age, health, and lifestyle can all play a part in whether you will develop those unsightly, thickened surface, yellow nailbeds?

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Additional reporting for this story by Jennifer Nied

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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.

Tea Tree Oil

Vicks

Tips To Prevent Fungal Nail Infections

Fungal Nail Infection Of The Thumb Photograph by Dr P ...

Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent a fungal infection of the nails. Taking good care of your nails by keeping them well trimmed and clean is a good way to prevent infections.

Also avoid injuring the skin around your nails. If youre going to have damp or wet hands for an extended amount of time, you may want to wear rubber gloves.

Other ways to prevent fungal infections of the nails include:

  • washing your hands after touching infected nails
  • drying your feet well after showering, especially between your toes
  • getting manicures or pedicures from trustworthy salons
  • avoiding being barefoot in public places
  • reducing your use of artificial nails and nail polish

Products to help you avoid nail fungus

If youre prone to excessive moisture around your fingernails or toenails, consider buying:

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A Pharmacist Can Help With Fungal Nail Infections

Speak to a pharmacist if the look of your nail bothers you or it’s painful.

They may suggest:

  • antifungal nail cream it can take up to 12 months to cure the infection and does not always work
  • nail-softening cream it’s used for 2 weeks to soften the nail so the infected part can be scraped off

The infection is cured when you see healthy nail growing back at the base.

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  • Nails support and protect the sensitive tips of our fingers and toes.
  • Common causes of nail problems include injury, infection and skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis.
  • Some conditions need professional treatment from a doctor or a dermatologist.
  • People with diabetes or compromised immune systems have a higher risk of fungal nail infections.
  • Toenail problems tend to be more common among older people.

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Difficulties With Nail Infections

While many cases of fungus are mild, some become complicated. When issues are severe, the toxins can cause permanent damage to the nail, and you may lose it. The goal is to keep the infection from spreading to other body areas beyond the feet.

The biggest concern is those who have a compromised immune system, which can be dangerous if the infection gets out of control. Those with Type 2 diabetes can often have circulation issues too that affect their feet. This puts you at a greater risk of developing a bacterial skin infection like cellulitis that can be dangerous.

With diabetes, any infection that affects your feet can be a severe complication requiring prompt medical help. While most dont need to be concerned if there is a small dot of yellow or white under the nail, for the diabetic, its a cause for alarm.

Structure Of The Nail

What is toenail fungus?

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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What Other Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Fungal Nails

Here are some other conditions you may have instead of fungal nails:

  • Lines and ridges: These are common and may be considered normal. They may worsen during pregnancy. A large groove down the center of the nail can be caused by nail biting. Some people may develop these changes following chemotherapy.
  • Senile nails: As you age, the nails become brittle and develop ridges and separation of the nail layers at the end of the nail. To avoid this, try to clean solutions and don’t soak the nails in water.
  • Whitish or yellowish nails can occur due to onycholysis. This means separation of the nail from the nail bed. The color you see is air beneath the nail. The treatment is to trim the nail short, don’t clean under it, polish if you want to hide the color, and wait two to three months. Persistent onycholysis can make the nails susceptible to fungal infection.
  • Red or black nails due to a hematoma, or blood under the nail, usually occur from trauma . The discolored area will grow out with the nail and be trimmed off as you trim your nails. If you have a black spot under your nail that was not caused by trauma, you may want to see a dermatologist or a podiatrist if it involves a toenail to make sure it is not melanoma . A simple biopsy can rule out malignancy .
  • Trichophyton

    How Is Toenail Fungus Treated

    Toenail fungus is notoriously tricky to treat. You may need to treat the condition for several months to get rid of the fungus. Still, toenail fungus often comes back.

    A dermatologist or podiatrist can explain your treatment options. If you have a mild case that doesnt bother you, your provider may recommend no treatment.

    Toenail fungus treatment options include:

    • Oral antifungal medication: You take prescribed medication, such terbinafine , itraconazole and fluconazole , to treat the fungi. You will need to take this medication every day for several months . Your provider may use blood tests to check for potential medication side effects. These medications can affect the liver and interact with other medications, so oral antifungals are not for everyone.
    • Topical medication: You regularly apply a medication right on the nail. The medication treats the fungi over time. Topical medications are most effective when paired with oral medications.
    • Laser treatments: Your provider directs a high-tech laser beam and special lights at the toenail to treat the fungus. Lasers are FDA approved for temporary increase of clear nail in nail fungus but is not a cure. Cure rates for laser treatment are lower than oral and topical mediations so they are not typically used as first-line treatments for nail fungus.

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    Special Groups At Risk For Complications In Severe Onychomycosis

    Nail Fungus

    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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    Who Gets Toenail Fungus

    Men are more likely to get it than women. The older you are, the better your chances are, too. People who have diabetes, athlete’s foot, or a weak immune system, who smoke, or whose family members have it are also at a higher risk. If you spend a lot of time in the water or you’ve injured your toenail, your odds for getting toenail fungus go up.

    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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    How Do I Know If I Have A Fungal Nail Infection

    What is Nail Fungus and How to Get it Treated

    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:

    • terbinafine

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    What Is The Anatomy Of The Nail

    To have a better understanding of how fungal nail infection affects the nail, a general knowledge of the anatomy of the nail is helpful . The nail, or nail unit, consists of the following parts:

    • The nail matrix is where nail cells multiply and keratinize before being incorporated into the fingernail or toenail. Most of the matrix is not visible. The matrix starts under the skin 5 mm below the nail fold and covers the area called the lunula, or half moon .
    • The cuticle is a fold of modified skin where the finger or toe meets the nail. The cuticle protects the matrix from infection.
    • The nail plate is the nail itself.
    • The nail bed is the soft tissue underneath the nail, anchoring the nail plate. The nail plate protects the nail bed.

    Organic Apple Cider Vinegar:

    Apple cider vinegar is very famous for its amazing and powerful beauty effects as well as health effects. In terms of skin and nail issues, apple cider vinegar is actually one of the best remedies for fingernail fungus infection as well. This acidic home remedy can help to ward off bacteria and prevent other skin and nail areas from being infected by fungus. I suggest that you and other people who are suffering from the fingernail fungus or also some other infections should make use of this ingredient because it can act well for a great deal of purposes. You can make use of the organic apple cider vinegar lotion in 2 different ways:

    Diluted:

    Prepare equal amounts of water and apple cider vinegar and use the mixture to apply onto your nails for about 30 minutes. Practice makes perfect, so you need to apply this tip every day and do not forget do pat the infected area dry after each soak session.

    Spray:

    Take 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar and put them both into a spray bottle. Use this spray to apply under your each fingernail every night before going to sleep so that you will be able to heal and regain the natural beauty of your nails fast and effectively.

    In fact, this is also one of the best and most effective home remedies for fingernail fungus that people should not skip but try making use to stop the current concern fast and safely without making use of any type of costly yet useless creams or medical interventions.

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    Are Some People More Susceptible To Fungal Nail Infections

    Although everyone is potentially susceptible, there are several risk factors that make a person more likely to get infected. Many factors are lifestyle-related and having an active lifestyle can often expose a person to situations where contact with fungus is more likely. There are also genetic and health factors that can increase the risk of infection for:

    • People 55 years or older
    • People with diminished blood circulation
    • People with previous or existing injury or infection of the nail
    • People with a weakened immune system

    iIs nail fungus contagious?

    Fungal nail infections are in fact contagious, but not in any way that should cause panic. Fungal infections commonly spread from the nail to the skin and vice versa. Many fungi called dermatophytes feed on keratin, the basic material of skin and hair, to grow and spread.

    Accidental transmission from person to person is quite uncommon, unless there is constant intimate contact. The fungi that can cause nail fungus infections are very commonplace and are very difficult to avoid completely. Generally, in healthy individuals, the immune system will defend the body from infection and repel these fungi, even if they come into contact with the skin or the nail.

    How To Get Rid Of Fungal Fingernail Infection Fast Th

    Fungal Nail

    This manner can be conducted for a few weeks or months at a time.

    Because the an infection has the competencies to transmit from one person to an alternative, remember to endeavor warning. It is feasible to come back into touch with this fungus while using public amenities, locker rooms, and showers, as an example. Because people are likely to walk around these places barefooted, it is feasible for you to contract this fungal infection. If an individual else has the infection, the fungus might be deposited on the ground, where its going to remain for a person else like you who doesnt have the an infection, and before you comprehend it, you have got reduced in size it. It can even be got through the use of other folkss toe nail clippers and files. You never know who isnt keeping up with their personal hygiene hobbies. Even if it were only because of this, you should be extremely cautious about using any and all nail tools. No matter what you do, always certain to put on shoes when getting into public spaces akin to locker rooms. If you recognize you will be utilizing public showers and other similar facilities, wear your flip flops or sandals to avoid tripping. Remember to care about others should you are affected by toe nail fungus an infection. Make sure you wear your shoes so that others do not come into touch with it.

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