fungus is made up of tiny organisms (Tinea Unguium)
that can infect fingernails and toenails. The
nails of our fingers and toes are very effective barriers.
This barrier makes it quite difficult for a superficial
infection to invade the nail. Once an infection has set
up residence however, the same barrier that was so effective
in protecting us against infection now works against us,
making it difficult to treat the infection.
than 35 million people in the United States get this fungus.
The fungus lives underneath the nail. The nail provides
a safe place for the fungus and protects it while it grows,
since fungus like dark and damp places. This is why its
hard to reach and stop nail fungus.
polish and plastic or acrylic nails can trap moisture and
fungi. Most often, nail fungus appears in the toenails because
socks and shoes keep the toenails dark, warm, and moist.
The toenails are 6 to 7 times more likely to be infected
than fingernails. Fungi often cause the area around the
base (and the sides) of the nail to become red and irritated.
At first, the edges or base of the nail is affected. As
it spreads, the nail and nail bed show changes. There is
often mild discomfort, itchiness, or even pain around the
cuticles (flesh surrounding the nails). Bleeding or detachment
of the cuticles may occur. The nail can become discolored-yellow-green,
dark yellow-brown, and sometimes white spots are seen. The
nails thicken and develop abnormal grooves, lines, and tiny
punched out holes.
it can be. The organisms can sometimes spread from one person
to another because these critters can live where the air
is often moist and peoples feet are bare. This can
happen in places like shower stalls, bathrooms, or locker
rooms or it can be passed around on a nail file or emery
board. So, dont share them. Nail fungus may also spread
from one of your nails to other nails.
Do You Treat Nail Fungus?
best treatment of course is prevention. Keep your nails
cut straight across. If nails are hard to cut, soften by
soaking in salt water (use 1 teaspoon per gallon of water
and then dry well). Keep feet dry and well ventilated. Be
careful with artificial nails and be selective about choosing
your manicurist. Ask about how they sterilize their instruments.
See a podiatrist or your health care provider if you see
signs of fungus.
creams applied directly to the infected site are often used
for less serious infections. Visit the foot care section
of your local drug store chain. Creams include Lotrimin,
Monistat, Nizoral, Tinactin, and Lamisil. If the topical
treatments fail, more potent medications can be taken orally
if your health care provider thinks it is necessary. Oral
medications may have side effects, so tell your health care
provider about any other medications, including birth control
like the pill or Depo-Provera, if you are prescribed an
oral medication for fungus.