It is often difficult to eliminate the infection that causes fungal nail infections if they are not treated early. Find out how to treat fungal nail infections with our guide.
Fungal nail infection: what is it?
It is common for fungal infections to affect nails of any shape or size, but they mostly affect toenails.
A fungal spore makes its way into the toenail and under the nail bed to cause a nail fungus. As well as feeding off the skin and nails, the spores eat keratin. Athlete’s foot, an infection that affects the skin between the toes predominantly, and can affect the nails, is caused by fungi similar to those that cause athlete’s foot. For more information, visit theharleylaserspecialists.com.
Both hands and feet can get fungal nail infections?
Toenail fungus affects them much more frequently than fingernail fungus. Foot infections are more likely to occur in places where this type of infection thrives, such as in the gym and swimming pools.
This infection can appear in any part of your nail, but usually appears at the bottom of the nail bed, under the nail plate.
What is the treatment for it?
Treatment of a fungal nail can take several months – it can take several months for it to clear up. Your toenail takes a very long time to grow, which accounts for this.
If you are suffering from fungal nail infections, speak with your pharmacist for treatment options. For severe infections or infections that have spread to other nails, try over-the-counter treatments first. If this doesn’t work, see your doctor. If you have diabetes and develop a fungal nail infection, you should see your GP or a foot specialist as people with diabetes are at a higher risk of foot problems.
What you can do about fungal nails
A doctor can prescribe some of the following treatments, while others can be obtained at your local pharmacy:
An antifungal nail cream or paint
Infections are treated with these over a period of several months, and they are most effective when used at the earliest possible stage. Due to the difficulty of reaching deep layers of the nail, they are not considered as effective as tablets. Due to the lesser risk of side effects, some people choose them over tablets. Over-the-counter medications are also available.
Kits for softening your nails
Softening the infected area is achieved by applying a paste. Once the paste has dried, the infected area is covered by a plaster. In the morning, the paste is washed away and the softened nail is scraped off. Until two to three weeks have passed, this process needs to be repeated each day.
Once the infected nail can no longer be removed, an antifungal paint is applied to prevent reinfection during the next few months as the nail grows. Your pharmacist can assist you with this process.
Tablets that treat fungal infections
It usually takes several months for these medications to take effect, and they are only available on prescription. The use of some tablets may cause side effects in people taking certain medications. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice before taking medication.
Treatment with lasers
To destroy the fungi, a laser is used at high energy. Having to repeat this treatment multiple times is expensive, and since it is not provided by the NHS, it must be paid for privately.
The significance of hygiene
After you treat an infected nail with a treatment, make sure to wash your hands and keep your feet dry by using a separate towel. Be sure to inform your family and friends about the fungal nail infection so they can take the appropriate precautions. Please do not share their shoes or socks because they may be contagious.