Onychomycosis (or, more correctly, tinea unguium), is an infection that affects both the fingers and toenails. Fungal infections usually develop slowly over time, so even any difference in how your nail feels or looks can be too subtle for you to notice at first. A fungal nail infection usually occurs under, on, or around the nail. Sometimes it may occur in other areas of the hand, but more often it occurs on the finger nails. Fungal toenail infections are relatively common, particularly among people who have sweaty palms, diabetes, or a weak immune system.
Fungal nail infections are considered common because toenail fungus is easily spread from person to person. Fungi live on dark, moist areas, such as the soles of our feet. Some species of yeast are also capable of living on human skin. Toenail fungus, which is commonly referred to as a toenail fungus, is most often spread through crowded places where there are many susceptible people, such as public showers or swimming pools, gymnasiums, and locker rooms. Fungal nail infections are relatively easy to spread; however, it is possible for some people to prevent the spread of toenail fungus by practicing good hand hygiene.
A toenail fungus infection can cause pain, discoloration, and thickened nails, and it can even spread to other toes or fingers. It is extremely important to visit a doctor if you think that you have onychomycosis. A doctor will take a sample of your infected toenail for laboratory testing to determine the type of fungus that resides on your toenail. To make certain the doctor has the correct diagnosis, your doctor might ask to take a scraping of the infected nail and send it to him through the mail.
Your doctor may prescribe an oral medication if he determines that your fungal nails are caused by one of several specific species. These species are known as dermatophytes, and there are several different types of them. Anti fungals, which include tolnaftate and terbinafine, work best against dermatophytes. A natural product, like tea tree oil, is also very effective against this specific species.
In very warm and moist environments, fungal nail infections are more likely to occur. The most common place to find dermatophytes is in swimming pools. They typically survive in dark, moist areas, such as shower stalls, locker rooms, and hot tubs. If you regularly swim in a pool or spa, you should be especially careful to check your feet and ankles for infection. You can check your feet and ankles for infection by placing a piece of dampened gauze on them and gently pressing it against the skin near the tip of your toes for about half an hour. If you find any signs of infection, you should immediately wash your feet with tap water and cover them with some type of bandage.
Dead skin cells that are shed frequently from your body contribute to the growth of fungus. If you often wear socks, you should make sure your socks are dry before putting them on. This will help prevent moisture from building up near your toes and fingers, which will allow the fungal growth to spread easily. Most people with nail polish infection don’t realize that they have been spreading the fungus to their toes – until it’s too late.