The Telltale Signs of a Nail Fungus Infection (and What to Do About It!) | About eight out of ten Americans have experienced problems with their feet. One of the most common issues people face is a fungus infection. These tiny microorganisms can’t be seen, but they wreak havoc on your toenails.
This guide will explain the signs of a nail fungus infection and what to do if you have one.
Signs of Nail Fungus
Take a look at your toenails. Do they look thicker than a normal nail? Perhaps they’ve turned an opaque white or yellowish-brown color. They could also be crumbly or brittle with ragged edges.
In some extreme cases, the nail can actually change shape or distort in how it grows. If you can, give them a whiff. The fungus causes the nails to smell foul.
Causes of Nail Fungus
The fungus that causes toenail infections lives in warm and moist places. This makes it prevalent in gyms, swimming pools, showers, and nail salons. Anyone is susceptible to contracting an infection.
The people that are most vulnerable walk around barefoot in these wet and warm places. If you have cracks or cuts in the skin of your feet, then you are even more vulnerable. One of the most common causes of nail fungus is existing trauma to the toenail that causes the nail to separate from the toe.
People with underlying medical conditions are also more at risk. Those who suffer from excessive sweating, circulatory problems, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases are more vulnerable.
What Is a Nail Fungus Inspection?
If you suspect that you have a toenail infection, you’ll want to schedule a visit with your doctor. They will perform a nail fungus inspection. The doctor takes a scraped sample from underneath the nail.
Those scrapings get tested with a fungal culture or potassium hydroxide (KOH) smear. These lab tests are crucial because you need to identify the organism that’s infecting your nails to determine the best course of action.
How to Get Rid Of Nail Fungus
Treating your nail infection is difficult, time-consuming, and not permanent. Your doctor could prescribe an antifungal medication. You’ll take an oral medication for six to twelve weeks, or even longer.
Another option is medical nail cream. You’ll thin the nails, then regularly soak them and apply the cream. The soaked and thinned nails let the cream’s medication soak down to the fungus underneath.
A third option is a medicated nail polish. You’ll apply the polish to the infected nails and surrounding skin once a day. In some extreme cases, the entire toenail will get removed to make it easier to apply the medication directly to the infected skin underneath.
Take Care of Your Nail Fungus Infection
If you suspect that you have one or more nails that are infected with a fungus, the best thing you can do is see your doctor. A nail fungus infection will only get worse over time. Treating your toenail infection is a lengthy process, so the sooner you get started, the sooner you can have great-looking toenails again.
Check out our other wellness articles for more helpful advice for taking care of your body.