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How Do You Treat Nail Fungus

Can I Wear Nail Polish If I Have Toenail Fungus

How to Cure Nail Fungus

You may feel tempted to cover up a discolored toenail with nail polish. If you are using a topical antifungal, you probably should not use polish. Some providers may tell you not to wear it in any case. Polish traps in moisture from the nailbed . Because fungi thrive in moist environments, wearing nail polish may make a fungal infection worse. However, the nail continues to grow with or without polish.

Distal And Lateral Subungual Onychomycosis:

Distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis are seen in majority of cases and is almost always due to dermatophyte infection. It affects the hyponychium, often at the lateral edges initially, and spreads proximally along the nail bed resulting in subungual hyperkeratosis and onycholysis although the nail plate is not initially affected. Distal and lateral subungual onychomycosis may be confined to one side of the nail or spread sideways to involve the whole of the nail bed, and progresses relentlessly until it reaches the posterior nail fold. Eventually the nail plate becomes friable and may break up, often due to trauma, although nail destruction may be related to invasion of the plate by dermatophytes that have keratolytic properties. Examination of the surrounding skin will nearly always reveal evidence of tinea pedis. Toenail infection is an almost inevitable precursor of fingernail dermatophytosis, which has a similar clinical appearance although nail thickening is not as common.

Preventing Toenail Fungus From Spreading

While you can’t avoid contact with the microscopic organisms that cause toenail fungus its present anywhere that is warm, dark, or moist keeping your feet clean and dry and clipping your nails properly can help prevent an infection.

For fungus to grow, there needs to be some type of trauma to the nail where the nail-skin junction, or natural barrier, is disrupted, says Sheth. For example, from a pedicure, ill-fitting shoes, or the repetitive trauma of running or hiking that causes the nail to lift or get pressed on from shoes or boots.

Still, some people are more vulnerable than others, she adds. Some people have it only on one toe or one foot, and some have lived with a partner who has it but they never get it,” Sheth says. “And for some you see it in their entire family. It’s not as straightforward as it seems, and it’s an annoying problem.

If you do get a toenail fungus infection, these measures can help stop it from spreading:

Getting rid of established toenail fungus can be difficult. Successfully eliminating it depends on careful adherence to a treatment plan.

“What happens over time is that the fungus breeds in the nail tissue and goes from being just a little bit on the nail, to a really discolored and thickened nail, to a nail that is totally embedded with fungus,” explains Marlene Reid, a doctor of podiatric medicine in Naperville, Illinois, and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.

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When To Contact A Doctor

Toenail fungus is typically not a significant problem for most people. However, if there are no improvements or complications occur as a result of home remedies, people should speak with a doctor and stop using the home remedy as soon as possible. It is also advisable to contact a podiatrist if a person notices any discoloration, thickening, or abnormality of the toenails.

Furthermore, people at higher risk for complications should seek medical treatment for their toenail fungus and avoid home remedies altogether. This includes those with diabetes or with weakened immune systems.

Treatment Options For Nail Fungus

How to Treat Toenail Fungus?

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Dr. Hull:

Most of my conversation is usually discussing medical therapy, so things that are available by prescription only. And those come in two main forms, which are topical antifungal medications, and then oral antifungal medications. There are other surgical or procedural options, so you can remove nails as well. And then there’s starting to be more interest in technologies like lasers for nail fungus.

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Dr. Hull:

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Nail Anatomy And Onychomycosis Infection

Figure 1 shows the composition of the nail, including the nail plate , nail bed and nail matrix.

Figure 1: Nail anatomy and physiology

The nail plate and nail bed are joined by layers of hard, translucent, keratinised cells. The nail bed and nail matrix are vascular components of the nail, with nail cells located within the nail matrix where the nail plate is formed. The thickness of the nail plate determines the length of the matrix

  • Apply cosmetic nail varnishes or artificial nails
  • Walk without footwear in public areas
  • Cut nails too short.

There Is A Wide Range Of Options With Varying Success Rates

Other than keeping your toenails trimmed and perhaps painted, you may not pay much attention to them unless a problem develops. Healthy toenails are pink, shiny and smooth, but a fungal infection can cause them to become discolored, thick, brittle and even painful.

Toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is a common but challenging condition toenail fungus treatments include a wide range of options with varying success rates.

Causes of toenail fungus

Fungal nail infections are usually caused by fungi called dermatophytes that infect the skin beneath the nail yeast is another common culprit. Toenails are especially vulnerable to infection when your bare feet contact damp surfaces such as showers, swimming pools and locker rooms. If you have athletes foot, the infection can spread to the nails.

Wearing closed shoes such as athletic shoes for extended periods also can contribute to infection if your shoes and/or socks are damp from perspiration or heat. Moreover, if your shoes fit snugly enough to put pressure on your toes, they can damage the nail bed, making it more susceptible to infection.

People with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or circulatory problems, also may be more prone to toenail infections.

Symptoms of toenail fungus

Toenail fungus symptoms can develop slowly over time and may go unnoticed at first. Symptoms can include:

Toenail fungus treatments

  • Tolnaftate
  • Terbinafine

When to see a doctor for toenail fungus

Preventing toenail fungus

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Ways To Safely Treat Toenail Fungus At Home

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Stocksy/Design by Cristina Cianci

Toenail fungus sounds funky, but believe it or not, its much more common than you think. Thats because the pesky foot issuewhich most often presents as yellowing, cracking, and thickening of the nailscan be caused by everything from slower-growing nails and excessive sweating to athletes foot and walking barefoot in communal areas such as pools, shower rooms, gyms, and the like.

Most infections are caused by tinea species, but can involve harder-to-treat species of dermatophytes,” says Francisco Oliva, DPM. He adds that infections usually occur when theres a combination of issues affecting the toenail. Sometimes there is an injury to the nail at some point, he explains. The effects can be delayed for months and years. Once the fungus invades the nail, the keratin layer of the nail becomes a difficult barrier to penetrate.

What Oral Medications Are Available

How Do You Treat Toenail Fungus? Part 2

To treat fungal nail infections from inside the body, you can take tablets that inhibit the growth of fungi or kill them. They are all prescription-only. Terbinafine and itraconazole are typically used for this purpose.

  • Terbinafine is preferred if the nail fungus is caused by a skin fungus . This is usually the case.
  • Itraconazole is generally used if the nail infection is caused by yeast or mold.

Itraconazole and terbinafine tablets can both be taken either continuously or with breaks between treatments. But they are used differently:

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Are There Home Remedies For Toenail 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.

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Risk Factors Associated With Toenail Fungus

Certain health conditions and lifestyle factors can make you increasingly vulnerable to developing nail fungus:

Health: You have a greater chance of contracting a fungal nail infection if you suffer from one or more of the following issues:

  • Other fungal skin infections, such as athletes foot or ringworm
  • Diabetes

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Is Cellulitis Contagious

5 Toenail Fungus Warning Signs You Need To Know, RIGHT NOW ...

Cellulitis usually doesnt spread from person to person. Yet its possible to catch cellulitis if you have an open cut on your skin that touches an infected persons skin.

Youre more likely to catch cellulitis if you have a skin condition like eczema or athletes foot. Bacteria can enter your skin through cracks that these conditions cause.

A weakened immune system also increases your risk of catching cellulitis because it cant protect you as well against the infection.

If you do catch cellulitis, it could be dangerous if you dont get treated. Thats why its important to tell your doctor.

Cellulitis is treated with antibiotics you get from your doctor. Without treatment, it can spread and cause a life threatening infection.

But there are things you can do at home to relieve pain and other symptoms.

Clean your skin in the area where you have cellulitis. Ask your doctor how to properly clean and cover your wound.

If your leg is affected, raise it above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling and relieve pain.

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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.

When Are The Different Treatments Considered

Most doctors recommend treating nail fungus with nail polish or cream if

  • not much more than half of the nail is affected by the fungus,
  • the base of the nail is not infected, and
  • only some nails are affected.

Topical treatment is also usually recommended for children. One reason for this is that most oral medications arent suitable for children. Another reason is that children have thinner nails that grow more quickly, so its assumed that treatment with nail polish or creams is more likely to work in children than in adults. White superficial onychomycosis is also often treated with a nail polish or cream.

If several nails are infected by the fungus, or if the infection has spread out more on the affected nails, its usually necessary to take oral medication. And if the infection started at the base of the nail, its highly likely that only tablets will help.

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Why Vicks For Toenail Fungus

Now that we know how someone could get toenail fungus, lets talk a possible treatment: Vicks Vapor Rub. What is it about this cough and cold medicine that helps with infected toenails? Good question.

One of the ingredients in Vicks is thyme oil and it has been shown to remove fungus from underneath toenails.

In the January-February 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, a study was printed in which eighteen people who were dealing with toenail fungus applied Vicks to the affected area.

Five of the participants were cured, ten saw their symptoms improve, and three participants experienced no changes at all.

Of the five people who were cured, only two kinds of fungus were identified Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Candida parapsilosis. This suggests that the treatments effectiveness may depend on the type of fungus that someone has on their toe.

Side Effects Of Using Hydrogen Peroxide For Nail Fungus Treatment

How to Treat Nail Fungus Naturally

If you experience any of the following side effects, try using a solution weaker than 2%. You can also try diluting the solution further with water.

  • Hydrogen peroxide can irritate your skin causing redness, stinging, and mild itching.
  • It may also dry out your skin and cause cracked feet.
  • Peroxide can cause your skin to peel.

If you ever notice discoloration on your skin, it might be nail fungus. The next time this happens, you know what to do. Have you ever dealt with nail fungus? What helped you treat it? Tell us in the comments section below.

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How Can I Prevent Toenail Fungus

Theres no way to guarantee that you wont get toenail fungus. But you can take several steps to help prevent it:

  • Avoid going barefoot in communal areas such as hotel rooms / showers, public showers, locker rooms and swimming pools. Most people pick up fungus in these situations. It helps to wear flip flops in these public areas.
  • If you have a family member with foot fungus or nail fungus, try to use different shower or wear flip flops in the shower to avoid coming in contact with it.
  • Trauma due to accidental or aggressive clipping of the nails can turn into portals of entry for the fungus.
  • Clean your nail trimmer before using it.
  • Do not tear or rip your toenails on purpose.
  • If you have diabetes, follow all foot care recommendations from your healthcare provider.
  • Keep your feet dry. Make sure to fully dry your feet after a shower.
  • Soak toenails in warm water before cutting them. Or you can cut your nails after a shower or bath.
  • Trim toenails straight across .
  • Wear shoes that fit correctly. They should not be too loose or tight around the toes.

How Fungus Forms On Toenails

Usually toenail infection develops when the nail or surrounding skin has a small crack or cut and the area is exposed to fungus in the environment.

Warm, moist conditions allow fungus to grow. Walking barefoot in locker rooms or shared showers can increase your risk of coming in contact with fungus. Having sweaty feet or wearing non-breathable shoes can help the fungus take hold and spread.

Diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and a weak immune system can increase risk for toenail fungus.

Its also more common in older adults. Up to half of adults over the age of 70 may have toenail fungus, according to the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. A previous toenail injury, psoriasis, hyperhidrosis, and smoking can also increase risk. Children are rarely affected.

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The Dog Owners Guide To Guide To Canine Nail Fungus

Canine nail fungus is a fungal infection that is caused by the fungal microorganism Blastomyces dermatitidis. This health problem is often seen in sporting and working dogs .

The main reason working dogs are more prone to this condition is because they live a working and active lifestyle that makes them more prone to coming into contact with the areas that the fungal microorganisms grow i.e. in moist dark places , streams, rivers and creeks where the Ph levels are low.

Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Nail Fungus

Toenail Fungus Treatment You Can Do At Home

Although some people may refer to these alternative treatments as quack science, there appears to be a little more to these homemade remedies since many individuals have used them to cure their conditions. However, more research still needs to be conducted on the success rate of home remedies for nail fungus.

Some common and supposedly effective alternative treatments include:

  • Apple Cidar Vinegar
  • According to Dr. Josh Axe of the Exodus Health Center, apple cidar vinegar not only helps to soothe sunburns, balance pH in the body, manage blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss, its also an ingredient that contains anti-fungal properties. As such, many sufferers of fungal nail infection have now turned to this healthy food to cure their conditions.

    The acidic properties of apple cidar vinegar prevent nail fungus from spreading. At the same time, apple cidar vinegar helps to get rid of dead skin cells while killing bacteria and fungi.

    Simply mix it with water in equal parts then soak the infected nails for up to 30 minutes in the solution. Repeat this process daily and pat dry the infected nails after soaking.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Another study conducted by Russian researchers showed that a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide had been instrumental in killing off fungus at the radioactive Chernobyl site.

  • Fresh Garlic Cloves
  • Natural Lemon Juice
  • For this remedy, one should simply apply lemon juice on the infected nail for about 30 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.

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    How To Diagnose Yellow Nail Syndrome

    You shouldnt ignore a change in nail color or shape, especially if your nails turn yellow. Yellow nails can indicate a problem with your liver or kidney, diabetes mellitus, fungal infections, or psoriasis, which need to be treated by a doctor.

    If you develop yellow nails along with swelling or respiratory problems, see a doctor.

    A doctor may diagnose yellow nail syndrome if you exhibit primary symptoms of the condition. Your doctor may also order a pulmonary function test to measure how well your lungs work or take a sample of your nail to check for fungus.

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