Toenail fungal infections are not a pressing health concern. However, it can alter the appearance of your nails and cause pain when it becomes severe, lifting the nail from the nail bed. Nail fungal infections are relatively harder to get rid of.
What causes the infection?
A toenail fungus infection or onychomycosis is caused by microscopic organisms that survive in warm and moist environments. Fungal spores are out in the air all the time. They will start to grow when they end up on any surface like the toenail. They get their nourishment from your nail tissues. They do so by burrowing into the skin underneath the nail.
What are some symptoms of nail fungal infections?
The symptoms of a nail fungal infection vary based on the type of fungus that caused the infection and the level of severity. They may start as mild yet elevate into something more serious. At first, you may find a yellow or white spot under the nail. This may become worse and make the entire nail white, yellow, green, or black. The nail may become hard and quite difficult to trim. The nail may start to curl up or down and eventually set off the nail bed. The nail can end up brittle and crumbly when touched. At times, the nail can become misshapen, and it can also give off a foul smell. Pressure may develop on the area when it is left untreated. It can cause pain in the long run and make it difficult for you to walk.
What are some risk factors of nail fungus infections?
Several known factors are known to increase the risk of getting infected with toenail fungus. These include excessive sweating; having a family history of suffering from athlete’s foot; suffering from diabetes, circulation issues, and a weak immune system; being older due to prolonged exposure to fungi, reduced blood flow, and slower growth of nails; having a minor nail and skin injury or condition like psoriasis; and walking barefoot in damp public areas like gyms, swimming pools, and locker rooms.
How is diagnosis done for nail fungus infections?
The doctor has to inspect the debris under the infected nail. The scraping of this debris will be used for tests like a potassium hydroxide (KOH) smear or culture of the fungus. It’s important to diagnose the condition since its symptoms are similar to other skin and nail conditions such as psoriasis, contact dermatitis, nail bed tumor, and eczema.
What are some medications for onychomycosis?
Doctors often prescribe oral antifungal pills as a nail fungus treatment and do not recommend over-the-counter products. Oral pills can be any of the following: Terbinafine (Lamisil), Griseofulvin (Gris-Peg), Itraconazole (Sporanox), and Fluconazole (Diflucan). The doctor may also recommend the use of some topical medicated nail creams and ointments. These are brushed on the nails like regular nail polish. These treatments may take place for several weeks depending on the type of organism causing it and its level of severity. Doctors may recommend a complete nail removal when the infection becomes severe. This can be done by surgery or using a chemical.
3Alternative Home Therapy: Vapor Rub and Ginger
Some people opt for home remedies especially when the infection is just starting. These are relatively more affordable and easy to apply. Most of them are also more natural. An example of these alternative home treatments is the Vapor Rub and Ginger mix.
Ginger is known for its wide range of antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiparasitic properties. These are only a few of its 40 scientifically confirmed medical actions. It is a powerful inflammatory that makes it a great treatment for fungi, menstrual pain, headaches, and joint pain.
Vicks VapoRub, on the other hand, has menthol and eucalyptus oil that can help fight off fungi. One study revealed that Vicks can help reduce symptoms of an athlete’s foot. According to the Michigan State University clinicians, applying Vicks VapoRub to the infected every day cleared the infection in 32 patients out of 85. The treatment, however, took 5 to 16 months to take effect.
To create a good mix of Vicks and ginger, you have to add an ounce of chopped fresh ginger into a cup of boiled water. Let this simmer for 20 minutes. Allow this to cool. Apply the mixture to the infected nail twice every day.