Toenail fungus might never get the attention that a lot of other ailments get. That, however, does not make it any less serious. A nail fungus might not be a deadly ailment, it, however, can spread very easily from one foot to another. This is one reason it should never be taken for granted.
It is very common for people to contract a toenail fungus in moist and warm places. An example of such a place is a locker room. So long someone with toenail fungus walks barefooted over an area, if you walk barefooted in the same area, you could get infected.
Furthermore, if you leave your nail wet for a long time, it could cause nail fungus. This is one reason certain people, get infected when they put on sweaty shoes over and over again.
There are different types of fungi responsible for this infection. Due to this, the appearance of the nail in different people with toenail infection will vary based on the exact fungus responsible for causing the infection. Some nails get thicker, some have white spots, while others have a change in color.
Signs and Symptoms of Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus comes with certain symptoms. So, if you suspect you have been infected, below are some of the symptoms to look out for.
- The nail crumbles or splits
- The nail turns brown or yellow. It also gets thick
- The nail might become soft on its surface. It could also become powdery and dry. This is in addition to the nail getting thinner.
- The nail becomes loosely attached to the toe.
- Debris begins to gather under the nail.
Unlike lots of other infections, a toenail fungus is painless at the beginning. If it is left untreated, it can get worse and painful when you put on shoes.
What Causes Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is not an infection that affects people of a certain age or gender. It can affect just about anyone. However, there are certain people with a bigger risk of being infected by toenail fungus. The likelihood of one being infected by toenail fungus is dependent on their age, lifestyle, and general health.
Before children get to age 6, it is difficult for them to be affected by toenail fungus. However, as they get older, the likelihood of being infected with toenail fungus grows rapidly. It becomes quite easy to be affected by a fungal infection at old age. Furthermore, people that live in hot climates are more likely to get infected with toenail infection than people that live in cold regions.
If your hand and feet stay wet for a very long time or you stay in water for a long time, you could get infected with a toenail fungus.
All things being equal, toenail fungus is caused by tiny organisms known as fungi. The easiest way to get infected with toenail fungus is by skin to skin contact with someone that already has the infection. This usually takes place in a locker room. In addition to having skin to skin contact with an infected person, another way this infection is spread is when infected people share towels and clippers with those that are not infected.
Although getting infected by coming in close contact with someone is a very common way to get toenail fungus, it is not the only way. One other way to get infected with toenail fungus is if you constantly put on sweaty socks and shoes.
How to Diagnose Toenail Fungus
Before toenail fungus can be treated, it first has to be diagnosed. The diagnosis of toenail fungus involves a careful examination of the skin and nails by a dermatologist. Although toenail fungus is supposed to affect just the toenails, it is vital that the skin around the nails be checked as the infection can spread to the skin.
After a physical examination of the skin, if the dermatologists are not satisfied, they can go on to take some debris from under the skin. They could also trim off a part of the nail. Once this is done, the scrapped off body parts get examined in the lab.
How to Treat Toenail Fungal Infection
The treatment of a fungal infection takes place in steps. The first step is the trimming of the nail already infected. This is done gradually until each nail infected is trimmed to the very point it connects with the skin. After doing this, the dermatologist may also take away some debris that is located under the nail. By doing this, issues of toenail fungal infections can be dealt with.
Although scraping the infected nail helps in treating toenail fungus, it is not the only way to get this done. Another way to treat toenail fungus is by applying medicines to your nail topically. When this is done, the presence of this medication prevents any new fungus from developing as the nail grows.
Although the use of medicines in treating fungus is effective, a lot of people fail to stick to a routine. This, therefore, makes the entire process a little difficult. Since there are various medicines for treating toenail fungus, to get the best from the use of any medicine, you need to know exactly how it should be used.
Certain medicines need to be used weekly. Others, need to be used just once a day for them to achieve needed results. Also, the first thing to note when you buy medicine is how it should be used. After this, you have to make use of it based on prescription. If you do not stick to prescription, you will not get the results you should get.
When treating toenail fungus, you have to note that it could take a while for your nail to begin looking healthy. While the medicine used in treating the infection can be trusted to kill the fungus, your nail might still look like it is infected for a fairly long time. The already infected nail will have to grow out before the nail can look healthy again.