Onychomycosis or tinea unguium is the medical term for nail fungus infection. This kind of infection can affect both fingernails and toenails. It is more prevalent in toenails as opposed to fingernails. It can also affect any person of any age, but older people are more at risk than younger ones. Onychomycosis is usually caused by a kind of parasitic fungi known as dermatophytes. Yeasts and molds may also cause nail fungus infections at times.
Symptoms of Fungal Nail Infection
The first signs of a nail fungus infection are often changes in the appearance of the nail. It is not common for the infected nail to become permanently distorted in shape or cause severe pain, but in some cases, they do happen.
At first, you will notice a yellow or white spot under the infected nail. Over time, this will spread until it makes the entire nail yellow, white, green, or even black. The nail also becomes thick that it’s hard to clip it. The nail may begin to curl up or curl down and it may also lift off the nail bed. Once you touch it, the nail can be brittle and crumbly. It is misshapen as when it gets worse it can emit a bad smell.
Wearing too-tight socks and shoes can cause repetitive trauma to the nails. It is one of the primary triggers for incurring a nail fungus infection. That is nail fungus infection is common among those who play a lot of sports. It also includes the elderly and those with a compromised immune system. Fungus thrives and easily spreads in damp and warm areas like the public swimming pools, locker rooms, gyms, and shower rooms. If you keep on walking barefoot in these places, you are likely to be infected with nail fungus.
It’s best to see your doctor when the symptoms of the infection are getting worse. Your best chance of being treated is through taking prescribed oral antifungal pills. This kind of nail fungus treatment may take 2 months for the fingernails and 4 months for toenails to be free from the fungus. Yet again it depends on the severity level. Topical antifungals are also available that may work well for mild nail infections. These can be brushed or rubbed on the nails. It is also possible to take oral pills and at the same time use topical treatment. Nail removal through surgery may be suggested by a doctor when the other treatments don’t work. Laser and photodynamic therapy may also be an option. It uses a special light to eliminate the nail fungus.
2Home Remedy: Listerine and Vinegar Soak
These conventional medical treatments may render side effects. If your infection symptoms are mild, you have the option to use home remedies, which are cheaper and more accessible. Often these include kitchen ingredients, herbs, plants, seeds, and essential oils. Examples of these are tea tree oil, lavender oil, garlic, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, Vicks VapoRub, and many others. You may also combine some of them like creating a mixed foot soak of Listerine and vinegar.
Listerine is known to have various types of alcohol that contain antiseptic properties. One of these is thymol which is a fungicide. Another is eucalyptol which has 90 percent of eucalyptus that can help reduce swelling and pain. It also contains salicylate acid that possesses organic acid which can shed off dead skin cells and stimulate new cell production. It has a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that comes with analgesic properties.
Vinegar, on the other hand, is acidic. This is why it has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Vinegar is the diluted form of acetic acid. This makes it an antifungal agent. It reduces the growth of fungus and eliminates it from its roots. Your body also becomes inhospitable to fungus because of the high pH level of your skin. This makes nail fungal infection unlikely.
Here’s what to do to come up with a mixed foot soak of vinegar and Listerine: First, get a bowl that can accommodate your feet or toes. Add equal amounts of Listerine and vinegar. You may soak your infected fingers or toes for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove them all from the foot soak. Scrub the nails gently to remove dead skin cells using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Repeat the procedure twice daily. Be patient since it may take months for the remedy to clear the infection.