Fungal nail infections are common infections that affect the nails on the fingers and toes. In this type of infection, the fungus can change the color of the nail and cause it to crack and break. Fungal infections more commonly affect the toenails than the fingernails. A toenail fungus infection goes by the name onychomycosis.
What causes a toenail fungal infection?
This type of fungal infection is caused by the overgrowth of fungi within, underneath, and on the nail. Fungi are known to thrive in a warm and moist environment. This type of environment can cause fungi to overpopulate. The fungi that cause toenail fungus infection also cause jock itch, ringworm, and athlete’s foot.
A fungus that is found inside the human body can also cause infection. You may also get the infection from someone who has contracted it. When you get a manicure or pedicure from a salon, make sure that all the tools and devices are sterilized. Preferably, these should be cleaned after they are used.
Who are at risk of toenail fungal infections?
Nail fungal infections have many different causes. Most of the causes can be prevented, but some risk factors can increase the likelihood of incurring a toenail fungal infection. These include having diabetes, walking barefoot in a public swimming pool, locker room, or gym, being over 65 years old, having a disease that causes poor circulation, wearing artificial nails, having a skin injury surrounding the nail, having a weakened immune system, wearing closed-toe shoes for a prolonged time. Nail infections are more prevalent among men than women and these affect adults more than the younger population. When you have family members who have toenail fungal infections, it is likely for you to get it as well.
1What are some symptoms of onychomycosis?
Nails that are infected with a toenail fungus can become discolored. They may turn yellow, brown, or white. The infected nail may also become thick and fragile or cracked. It is often painless unless the infection becomes severe then it becomes painful and at times the nail may separate from the nail bed. There are cases when the infected nail gives off a foul smell. Some people who have a nail fungal infection may at first have an athlete’s foot. This is an infection that affects the skin in between the toes.
How is toenail fungal infection diagnosed?
A healthcare provider can diagnose a toenail fungal infection by just looking into the affected nail and asking about the symptoms. In certain cases, it may be important to get a nail clipping which will be checked under a microscope or sent to a laboratory for a fungal culture.
How are nail fungal infections treated?
It is not likely for physicians to recommend over-the-counter nail fungal treatments. This is because they don’t usually work fast and the results may not be reliable. Examples of oral antifungal medications include terbinafine (Lamisil), griseofulvin (Gris-PEG), itraconazole (Sporanox), and fluconazole (Diflucan). The doctor may also prescribe antifungal nail lacquers or creams and other topical medications. These are applied to the nails the same way that regular nail polish is applied. Nail fungus treatment using topical solutions may last for several months depending on the level of severity and the type of fungus that causes it. When these treatments don’t work, the doctor often recommends a total nail removal through surgery or the use of a chemical. A new form of treatment is laser surgery although it may be expensive.
What are some alternative treatments?
Some people prefer home remedies for toenail fungal infections since they are more convenient to apply and less expensive as well. Most of these home remedies can be bought over the counter. Even herbs and kitchen ingredients can be used as toenail fungal infection treatments. One of the simplest ways to get rid of toenail fungal infections is to increase your intake of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is crucial for the body’s collagen production. This is a protein that renders shape, integrity, and strength to your body tissues which are the building blocks of one’s hair, teeth, and nails. When you have vitamin C deficiency, you can have brittle nails as well as slow nail growth.
Some animals can make their own vitamin C, but humans have to get their vitamin C from food and various other sources. Some sources of vitamin C are vegetables, fresh fruits, particularly citrus fruits. It is also possible to make vitamin C in a laboratory.
Vitamin C is required to ensure the proper development and function of the different body parts. It also ensures the proper functions of the body’s immune system.
Health experts recommend getting vitamin C from a high-fiber diet composed of fruits and vegetables instead of just taking health supplements. The freshly squeezed orange or fresh-frozen concentrate is healthier than a ready-to-drink orange juice. Fresh juice is known to contain more active vitamin C. When it comes to fresh-frozen orange juice drink it within the week after opening it for maximum benefits.
If you are going to look into the historical uses of vitamin C, you will see that it was used to treat scurvy. These days, it is used as a treatment for colds and coughs. Some people also use vitamin C for getting rid of infections like acne, gum disease, bronchitis, skin diseases, tuberculosis, stomach ulcers, HIV disease, boils, and dysentery.
Other people also use vitamin C to deal with depression, dementia, thinking problems, physical and mental stress, fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
There are many additional uses of vitamin C such as for improving endurance and slowing the aging process. It is also known to counteract the side effects of cortisone and other similar drugs. It also helps in dealing with the withdrawal symptoms of drug addiction and it aids in reducing the side effects of radiation therapy. It can be inhaled through the nose to treat hay fever.
When you give vitamin C along with iron, it helps in iron absorption of the body among children and adults.