Symptoms And Treatment For
Nail Fungus Infections
Just like bacteria, fungi can cause infections in the human body. These fungi usually hitch on to the hair, nails and outer layers of the skin. Nail fungus or onychomycosis is one such infection caused by fungus.
The sign of a healthy nail is its transparent luster. A healthy nail would reveal the pink skin beneath it as well. As the nail becomes older it takes on a whitish hue.
Fungus infection in the nail
Fungus infection of the nail occurs mostly in the elderly people and those with diseased conditions such as diabetes. It seldom occurs in children.
If you notice a whitish to yellowish patch under the tip of the toenail or fingernail then you could be having a fungal infection. The place beneath the nail is dark and damp and has the right conditions for the fungi to flourish. That is the reason why fungal infections are usually found below the toenail or fingernail.
Toenails are likely to be more affected by fungus infection than fingernails. The fact that toenails are usually covered with socks and shoes is the main reason for this. This provides the fungus with the right conditions to multiply and keep the disease alive. There are many symptoms typical of nail fungus infection. All the same sometimes there are no symptoms at all.
Here are a few of the symptoms of nail fungus
Itchiness is probably the earliest symptom you would notice and what would probably draw your attention to the fact that you have a problem with your nails. The skin surrounding the nail would start to degrade as well.
Just as in any other fungal infection, an increase in temperature is likely for some people but not necessarily for all.
Sometimes you may not have any sensory perception on the infected area. This means you may experience a feeling of numbness in the infected area. This is because degradation of the skin in the infected area leads to severe damage of sensory nerves.
Then the finger or toenail could appear yellowish-brownish. This discoloration may start at the end of the fingernail/toenail and gradually moves beneath and consumes the whole nail. Sometimes black patches can be seen on the nails which gives the nail an unclean and unhygienic look.
It is difficult to trim the nail when the infection sets in. This is because the nail tends to become thick. Often this may become very painful. It could cause difficulty in wearing gloves and socks as well.
Nails with fungal infection gets flaky, chipped and could unexpectedly break off. Sometimes a bad odor could emanate as well. This could portray an individual in bad light. In some instances the infected nail could develop puss.
How does a doctor diagnose nail fungus?
Most doctors can diagnose nail fungus by its typical appearance. Sometimes the doctor might take nail scrapings and examine it under a microscope. He may also order a lab culture of the nail to help confirm his diagnosis. However, most of the diagnosis is made on the basis of the typical appearance of the nail fungus.
Do medications work equally well for nail fungus of fingernails and toenail fungus infection?
Generally nail fungus of the fingernails is easier to cure than toenail fungus infection. Gels and lotions used to treat fingernail infections do not work that well if used for toenail fungus infection. For toenail fungus infections doctors often recommend the use of oral anti-fungus medicines in the form of pills and tablets. These pills and tablets may contain either Itraconazole or Terbinafine. Both Itraconazole and Terbinafine are anti-fungal medicinal substances and can cause serious side effects.
Oral anti-fungal medicines like Itraconazole and Terbinafine could possibly interact with other medications you may be taking. Therefore make it a point to inform your doctor of the other medications you may be taking especially for any other illness and be sure to go back for repeat visits and monitoring.
Is there a best way to treat nail fungus infections?
There is as yet no single best way to treat nail fungus infection which would be equally good for everyone. The best way would be to try one of the recommended topical medicines that are oil based and able to penetrate into the nails.
The best method would be to prevent nail fungus infection. The key to that is to reckon with your fingernail or toenail as a tender and delicate part of your body which has to be hygienically maintained.