What is toenail fungus and fingernail fungus?
Onychomycosis is the medical word that almost all Americans call toenail fungus. Toenail fungus is a living thing that feeds off the keratin that is found in your fingernails and toenails. It is generally brown or yellow in color. Your nails are made to be difficult to penetrate naturally so diseases, fungus and other infections can not enter your body through your toes and fingers. This is fine in the majority of cases, but somewhat works against you in the case of nail fungus. While the nail holds things out, it also holds things in once they penetrate. This is the case with toenail fungus. It is tough to eliminate after it penetrates the natural barrier of your nail.
How common is nail fungus?
Close to 10% of the population of the world is infected with nail fungus.
What are the symptoms?
Toenail fungus is easy to detect because the signs are obvious to even the untrained eye. The appearance of the nails is a give-away. Discoloration, generally yellow or brown and sometimes green, is a common indication of toenail fungus. The nail may appear thick and be flaky. It will appear as if something is building up under the nail. There is probably going to be smell associated with toenail fungus as well. Usually, there is no pain present with nail fungus but in some instances, it can get painful to wear shoes and it might even be difficult to walk. It depends upon the severity of the infection and how it is being treated.
How do I treat toenail fungus?
There are a number of treatment options if you have nail fungus. If you see a Dr., he/she is probably going to prescribe a medication where you will need a prescription. The highly severe cases of nail fungus almost always require a prescription medication. Drugs taken internally are capable of Fungus Clear treating nail fungus from inside your body because they are circulated throughout your body. Over the counter treatments generally are topical. Topical oils and creams are not near as effective because of the barrier of your nail protecting the nail bed. The creams and oils are acidic and create a hostile environment for the fungus that kills it. Home remedies include acid based substances and soaking your nails in vinegar. The majority of home remedies do not work well. You certainly should not be soaking your fingernails in any substance that is harmful to you. Remember, chemicals penetrate the skin when you soak your feet and you could receive harmful doses of a chemical if you attempt a radical home remedy.
Can nail fungus be prevented?
Nail fungus can be prevented in a couple of ways. The easiest way is to keep your feet and hands dry after taking a shower, swimming pool, or doing other activities getting your feet or hands wet. Similar to all living things, toenail fungus needs moisture to thrive. If you are exercising often or engaging in activity where your feet perspire to a great extent, be sure to wear moisture wicking socks and change them often.
Another critical step is basic nail care. Nails should be trimmed but not too short exposing the nail bed. Small abrasions to the skin around your nail can provide the passage way to your nail bed and organisms including fungas can take root. To prevent toenail fungal infections, keep your feet as clean and dry as possible all the time. Be cautious of sharing nail clippers. If you go to nail salons, be sure the tools they use are cleaned after every use. It is quite easy to be exposed to nail fungus from nail clippers and nail salons must follow specific protocol for cleaning their equipment.