Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common fungal infection of the fingernails or toenails. It is estimated to affect about 10% of the population, with the prevalence increasing with age. While nail fungus is not usually a serious health problem, it can be unsightly and uncomfortable.
Causes of Nail Fungus: Nail fungus is typically caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes, which thrive in warm, damp environments. One of the primary culprits is the fungus Trichophyton rubrum, known for its affinity towards nails. Fungal spores can enter the nail through tiny cuts or separations between the nail and the nail bed, leading to an infection.
Get Rid of Fungal Nail with Home Remedies
Treatments for fungal nail infections:
Treatment isn’t always needed for a mild fungal nail infection because it’s unlikely to cause any further problems and you may feel it’s not worth treating. Whether you decide to have treatment or not, you should still practice good foot hygiene (see below) to stop the infection from getting worse or spreading to others.
Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you’re bothered by the appearance of the affected nail, or if it’s causing problems such as pain and discomfort. They’ll probably recommend:
Antifungal tablets – tablets taken once or twice a day for several months
Antifungal nail paints – special paints applied directly to the nail over several months
Nail softening kits – where a paste is used to soften infected parts of the nail before they’re removed with a scraping device
A procedure to remove the nail completely may be recommended in severe cases. Laser treatment, where a high-energy laser is used to destroy the fungus, is also an option. But this is only available privately and can be expensive.
How do you get a fungal nail infection?
Most fungal nail infections occur as a result of the fungi that cause the athlete’s foot to infect the nails. These fungi often live harmlessly on your skin, but they can sometimes multiply and lead to infections. The fungi prefer warm, dark, and moist places like the feet.
You’re more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:
- Don’t keep your feet clean and dry
- Wear shoes that cause your feet to get hot and sweaty
- Walk around barefoot in places where fungal infections can spread easily, such as communal showers, locker rooms, and gyms
- Have damaged your nails
- Have a weakened immune system
- Have certain other health conditions, such as diabetes, psoriasis, or peripheral arterial disease
Fungal nail infections can be spread to other people, so you should take steps to avoid this (see below) if you have an infection. source: nhsinform