What is Onichomycosis or Nail Fungus?
Onichomycosis or mycosis of the nails is an infection caused by fungi. It mainly affects adults and older people. It is related to other conditions such as athlete’s foot.
It occurs more regularly on toenails than on fingernails. A small cut or wound between the skin and the nail is sufficient to contract the infection. If the wound is continually exposed to heat or moisture, it will be prone to develop the fungus more easily.
Causes of infection
Mushrooms proliferate in warm and humid places such as swimming pools, bathrooms, showers and changing rooms, so it is important not to walk barefoot in these places.
It is also possible a contagion between different people if they share files or nail clippers, but it is necessary a repeated contact, like the one that could occur between people who live in the same house.
Therefore, more than a brief handshake with an infected person is necessary for the transmission of the fungus to occur.
There is also a group of people who are more likely to get this infection, including those with diabetes mellitus, HIV, psoriasis, blood circulation problems in the lower extremities and people with immune problems.
Of course the most exposed to this disease are athletes, because apart from the constant exposure to sweat is common to suffer blows that cause wounds in which they could develop fungus.
The deformation of the nails occurs when the fungi begin to feed on the keratin present in the nails and the surface of the skin, causing pain in the most severe cases.
Depending on the type of fungus the nails usually present different symptoms as:
- Fragile and brittle nail
- Distortion or thickening
- Loss of shine
- Detachment of the skin
- Appearance of cracks or striations on the nail surface
However, it is not possible to recognize with the naked eye whether or not it is a fungal infection because other conditions may show the same or similar symptoms and it would be easy to confuse them, so it is necessary to see a specialist for testing.
How to fight nail fungus?
It is necessary to follow some guidelines to prevent it and to cure it in case of having been infected. Here are some recommendations to follow:
- First and foremost, you have to be constant and patient until you see the results. Nails take a long time to grow and renew completely (6 months in the hands and 9 to 12 months in the feet) so it is better to start treatment as soon as possible so that the fungus does not have a chance to spread.
- Cut and file to remove from the nail all the infected part.
- Comfortable and breathable footwear should be worn, shoes that keep toes and nails tight and shoes made of synthetic materials are not recommended.
- Keep your feet clean and dry. After practicing sports, the feet should be washed and dried well.
- We must protect ourselves in public spaces, it is the place of greatest danger of contagion, therefore flip-flops should always be worn and not exchanged with other people.
- Wear 100% cotton socks, synthetic materials are not recommended as mentioned above because they retain more moisture and do not absorb sweat.
Home remedies for nail fungus
If you have been diagnosed with this condition, it is possible to combine the treatment prescribed by the specialist with these home remedies that will help you see better results in less time.
What’s good for nail fungus?
- Apple vinegar. Put the nails in a mixture of water and vinegar in equal parts for 20 minutes, then dry well with a towel. However, if the skin shows symptoms of irritation due to vinegar, it is recommended to decrease the amount used.
- Lemon. Its anti-bacterial properties make it one of the best and most affordable options to combat such conditions, as in the previous remedy, should be introduced nails in lemon extract, for 10 minutes.
It is recommended to perform this procedure every night so as not to expose the treated area to direct sunlight because it can produce spots on the skin.
- Garlic. It is a potent antifungal, antibiotic and antimicrobial, can be used in different ways:
- Boil 5 cloves of garlic in a little water and put to rest until it is warm and introduce the nails inside for 10-15 minutes.
- Prepare a paste mixing crushed garlic and olive oil, then place on the nails and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
- Natural Yogurt. Apply on the nails and let it act for 30 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water and dry well with a towel.
- Sodium bicarbonate. Its alkaline properties are effective with fungi and other microorganisms. In this case we must mix the baking soda with lemon extract in quantities necessary to make a paste to be placed on the affected nails.
Another recommendation is to sprinkle the insole of the shoes with this product and let them rest all night, in the morning, after shaking the excess, we will be able to use them without any problem, this apart from helping us to fight the fungi will also eliminate the bad smell of them.
- Tea tree. It can be purchased in any natural products store, you must try to make the oil pure to be more effective.
The procedure is simple, simply place a drop on the affected nail a couple of times a day.
- Vick Vaporub. This ointment that is commonly used to treat colds has healing properties that can help us eliminate fungus. You only have to take a small amount and after spreading it on the affected nails, rub until it is completely absorbed. This simple procedure can be repeated 2 times a day.
In any case the recovery will depend on the constancy when applying the treatment. It should be borne in mind that once you have contracted the infection, the chance of getting it again is 50%, so it is important to follow the recommendations to prevent a new outbreak.