Tips for Health

Fungal Infections of Nails

By on July 17, 2012 in Diseases, Prevention with 0 Comments

What is a fungal infection?

An infection of the fingernails or the toenails, caused by a fungus, is called onychomycosis. The toenails are more likely to develop infection than fingernails.

What are the symptoms of a fungal nail infection?

Signs of a nail fungal infection include:

  • Having a color change (usually white or yellow).
  • Are brittle.
  • It peels easily, or have rough and irregular edges.
  • Are thick.
  • They are separated from the nail bed.
  • Presents a ripple upward or downward, or are deformed.
  • You may also feel pain or discomfort in the affected toes or fingers.

Who can have fungal nail infections?

Anyone can have a nail fungal infection, but these infections are more common in adults over 60 years. They are especially common in people with diabetes or circulation problems. Men are more likely to have fungal infections than women.

Why do I develop a fungal infection in nails?

It can be difficult to know where or how fungal infection of the nails is developed. A warm, wet place is a good place for fungus to grow. If you often use heavy work boots that make your feet are warm and sweaty, fungus can grow around your toenails. If you often walk barefoot in locker rooms, you can get fungus from the warm, moist floors.

People whose hands are often wet (for example, dishwashers in restaurants and the professionals who clean houses) are more likely to have fungal infections of the fingernails.

Sometimes, several people in a family have fungal infections of the nails at the same time. This may occur because the immune system cannot fight infection very well or because they are contracting the infection by using the same towels.

How is a fungal infection in the nails treated?

Several medications can treat a fungal infection of the nails. Oral antifungal medications help a new nail grow to replace the infected nail. You may need to take antifungal medication for 6 to 12 weeks. It depends on how severe the infection is. Some of these oral antifungal drugs are not safe for people with liver problems or a history of congestive heart failure. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any of these conditions. Your doctor will decide which medication is right for you.

Also available are topical treatments (creams and glazes that are applied to the nails). However, topical medications alone usually do not cure fungal infections of the nails.

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