Fungal infections affecting the nails, either toenails or fingernails, occurs when any fungus infects a nail. These infections are likely to develop on those nails that are continually exposed to moist and warm environment, such as shower floors or sweaty shoes. It is very important to identify the condition at the earliest so that proper treatment can be done at the very beginning of the infection. With regular treatment and care, it will be possible to cure the condition completely.
See Your Nails
It is very important to check your nails from time to time to find out any abnormality or change. Any type of fungal infection affecting the nails usually starts with a yellow or white patch or spot that develops under the tops of toenail or fingernail. When the infection starts spreading, it will gradually get deeper into the nail. At such point, it may start causing the nail to become thicker, with visible signs of discoloration and breaking edges. The nail will gradually lose its shine or luster, and debris start building up within the nails. Infected nails tend to be separated from nail beds. A foul odor may be detected.
Make an Appointment
Once you notice any of these signs, you should not waste any further time. Make an appointment with the doctor at the earliest, preferably a podiatrist. At the appointment, your nails will be examined for fungus infection. In order to confirm nail fungus diagnosis, your doctor may even scrape some part of your nail and collect debris for an analysis. This debris will be taken to the lab for an examination under microscope or a culture will be done to identify the cause of infection. It is imperative to know the cause of infection so that the best treatment can be given at the earliest.
Starting the Treatment
After diagnosis, it is time to start the treatment for nail fungus infection. Depending on the condition, your doctor will prescribe the necessary medications. Nail fungus is often very difficult to treat, and may lead to repeated or recurrent infections in the future. There are different options for medications that help in treating the condition and allow the nails to grow freely by gradually replacing the chapped and infected potion of the nail. Such medications will usually take 6 to 12 weeks to show results. However, it will take more than 4 to 6 months to eliminate the infection completely.
Because these fungal infections are stubborn, there are times when aggressive treatments have to be given. In some cases, a surgery may be needed.