Fungal infections can affect the skin, hair and nails. Common nail infection especially in susceptible individuals causes discolored, ugly and deformed nails may even be painful.
Usually the condition is treated with medication but medication may be needed for several weeks, months or even years. (1-5)
A fungal Nail Infection Affects?
Nail fungal infections are also medically termed as Onychomycosis, affects about 3 in 100 people in the United Kingdom at some stage of their lives.
It accounts for about half of all nail disorders and one third of the skin fungal infection.
In the United States 18.5% of people affected by the condition and numbers are increasing. Toenails are affected more often than fingernails.
It is also more commonly seen in people over 55 years of age or those who share a communal shower or pool as swimmers and athletes.
Nail fungus infection affects 32% of people between the ages of 60 and 70 and 48% of the population will be affected by the age of 70.
Causes of Fungal Nail Infection
Nail fungal infection may occur as an extension or spread of fungal skin infections.
Generally this is the case of athlete’s foot fungal infections of the skin of the toes & unless treated condition can spread to the toenails.
Spread to fingernails scratching occurs because of foot lesions.
Too much exposure to water such as in cooking and cleaning is also a risk of fungal nail infections. In addition it is broken or damaged nails prone to infection.
Repeated washings can damage the protective skin of the nail base. This may allow fungi to enter and cause infection.
Also those who live in hot and humid climates and people who smoke are at risk.
People with chronic health conditions are at risk for fungal nail infections. These include people with:
Poor immune system for example if a patient has AIDS or cancer chemotherapy to suppress immunity & generally poor state of health
Symptoms Of Fungal Nail Infection
Nail fungus infection can affect one or more than one nail at first infection is usually painless. Spikes appeared thickened with yellow-green.
Generally, this is all that happens and often cause no other symptoms. Sometimes these things worsen and white or yellow patches appear during spikes. This is the place where the nails have come from the skin under the nail (nail bed). Sometimes the whole nail comes away.
Nails become soft and collapse or become brittle and break off & the skin around the nails red, itchy and painful. There may be a scaly appearance of the skin around the nail.
If left untreated, the infection may eventually destroy the nail and the nail bed, and can be painful.
The Diagnosis of Fungal Nail Infection
Diagnosis is usually made clinically but tests can help detect the type of fungus that affects the nails. Clipping nails is sent to the laboratory microscopic examination.
Treatment of fungal nail infection
Drug prices with antifungal agents are available at this time is about 60-80% and the drugs need to be taken for several weeks or months, especially for the nail to grow more slowly.
Many people may choose to not have a cure if the infection causes mild or no symptoms. However, if symptoms worsen or people who have other chronic health conditions that can worsen the symptoms, treatment is usually recommended.
Antifungal agents commonly used are oral tablets Terbinafine or Itraconazole. Nail lacquer or nail polish containing amorolfine antifungal drugs is an alternative for many types of fungi that infect nails.
If other treatments have failed, the option is to have the nails removed by minor surgery under local anesthesia. This combined with treatment with antifungal drugs.
Prevention of Fungal Infection Of Nails
Prevention of infection with nail fungus include keeping the foot cool and dry and avoid communal bath and walk bare foot in the pool, showers and bathrooms.