Fungal nail infection

A fungal nail infection is a common condition that is not serious but takes some time to treat. The infection typically affects the toenail but can also affect the fingernails.

A fungal nail infection generally starts at the nail edges. The infection often spreads to the middle and the nail becomes discolored and raised. The nail turns brittle and pieces might break off. It can cause swelling and pain in the skin bordering the nail.

Over-the-counter measures

  • Antifungal nail cream – it might reach up to 12 months to deal with the infection and it might not always be effective
  • Softening cream for the nails – this can be applied for 2 weeks to allow the nail to soften, so the infection can be scraped away.

Once the infection is cured, there is healthy nail growing back at the base.

Management

The doctor might prescribe an antifungal tablet that must be taken daily for up to 6 months.

Some of the usual side effects include:

Fungal nail infection

Severely infected nails require removal using a procedure that is performed while the affected area is numbed.

  • Headache
  • Itchiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of taste

Severely infected nails require removal using a procedure that is performed while the affected area is numbed.

Prevention

A fungal nail infection can form if the feet are continuously warm and moist. One is likely to become infected if using trainers for prolonged periods and have warm, sweaty feet.

Some of the measures to prevent a fungal nail infection include:

  • Athlete’s foot must be promptly treated to prevent it from spreading to the nails
  • Use clean socks daily
  • Always keep the feet dry and clean
  • Wear flip flops in showers at the pool or gym
  • Discard old or worn out shoes
  • Avoid sharing towels, nail clippers or footwear
  • Avoid using shoes that make the feet warm and sweaty

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