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What is Nail Fungus? How is Nail Fungus Treated?

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What is Nail Fungus? How is Nail Fungus Treated?

Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common fungal infection that affects the nails. It is caused by various types of fungi, including dermatophytes, yeasts, and molds. Nail fungus typically begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of the nail and can spread to the entire nail if left untreated.

There are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing nail fungus. These include having a weakened immune system, having a history of athlete’s foot, wearing tight-fitting shoes, walking barefoot in public places such as swimming pools and gyms, and having a family history of nail fungus.

Nail fungus can be unsightly and may cause the nails to become thick, brittle, discolored, and distorted. In some cases, it can also cause pain and discomfort. If left untreated, nail fungus can lead to complications such as cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection, or a secondary bacterial infection.

Treatment for nail fungus can be challenging, as the infection is often difficult to eliminate completely. There are several treatment options available, including topical medications, oral medications, and in severe cases, surgical intervention.

Topical medications are applied directly to the affected nails and are typically available as creams, ointments, or nail lacquers. These medications may contain antifungal agents such as clotrimazole, terbinafine, or ciclopirox. Topical treatments are generally less effective than oral medications and may need to be used for several months to see results.

Oral medications are prescribed by a healthcare professional and are taken by mouth. They work by attacking the fungus from within the body. Common oral antifungal medications include terbinafine, itraconazole, and fluconazole. Oral medications are generally more effective than topical treatments but may have side effects and interactions with other medications. They are typically taken for several weeks or months until the infection clears.

In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to treat nail fungus. This may involve removing the infected nail or using laser therapy to destroy the fungus. Surgical treatment is usually reserved for severe cases that do not respond to other treatments.

In addition to medical treatments, there are also some home remedies and lifestyle changes that can help manage nail fungus. These include keeping the nails clean and dry, wearing breathable shoes and socks, avoiding sharing personal items such as nail clippers and files, and using antifungal powders or sprays in shoes.

Preventing nail fungus is also important, especially for individuals who are at a higher risk. This can be done by practicing good foot hygiene, wearing protective footwear in public places, avoiding prolonged exposure to moisture, and regularly inspecting the nails for any signs of infection.

In conclusion, nail fungus is a common fungal infection that affects the nails. It can cause the nails to become thick, discolored, and distorted. Treatment options include topical medications, oral medications, and surgical intervention. It is important to seek treatment for nail fungus to prevent complications and to practice good foot hygiene to prevent future infections.

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