Toe Nail Fungus
Toenail fungus is something that affects more than 30 million people in North America alone. It can come from a variety of places such as locker rooms, gyms, beaches/pools, or just about anywhere your bare feet are exposed. It most commonly hides in dark damp locations. Toenail fungus can also come from other fungal infections like athletes foot. It is more common in males, and especially those with damage to the nail.
Symptoms of toenail fungus include:
- Discoloration (nail turns yellow or brown)
- Nail becomes brittle, breaks easily
- Debris collects under the nail Nail becomes thick, hard to clip
- Or the nail can simply fall out!
Toenail fungus lives in the bed of nail, which makes it very difficult to treat. Topical treatments have a tough time penetrating the nail to reach the actual fungus spores. Most doctors prescribe oral medications that attack the fungus from the inside. Unfortunately, these medications tend to be harsh and can take over a year to clear the infection. Some side effects of Lamisil, the most commonly prescribed treatment, are rashes, stomach pain and nausea, and liver damage, just to name a few. It is not recommended if you are pregnant or if you drink regularly. Due to this many people choose to just live with the fungus than risk their health.
Others will opt for more natural treatments. Some of those include vinegar, tea tree oil, or even Vicks Vaporub. Many of these are just rumored by some to work but don’t have much if any testing or evidence behind them. While tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar have shown to have antifungal properties, it’s difficult to say how effective they are or if they would even reach the fungus under the nail. These treatments must also be continued over long periods while a new nail grows in and the infected portion grows out.
No matter what treatment method you seek out, its important to keep the area clean and dry throughout to keep new fungus from growing. Be very careful about cleaning and reuse of socks, consider boiling them. Spray all shoes with an antifungal spray. Keep the nail trimmed down and filed as much as possible.
While nail fungus is not a medical emergency, it is an embarrassing problem for a lot of people. When going for treatment, always weigh the pros/cons of treatment and side effects. If possible choose natural and safe products. The real key with successful treatment of nail fungus is persistence. Even after the infection appears to be cleared, keep a close eye and continue treatment for a few more weeks.
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