Nail diseases are not usually fatal or even painful, but they are very irritating. One of the most common problems is nail fungus (whose scientific name is onychomysosis) – about 15% of people are infected with nail fungus and, over 70, almost half of people suffer from nail mycosis.
This disease has received a lot of media attention lately due to the fact that there are now finally effective therapies to eradicate this infection permanently.
A general look at this disease can help us to get rid of it more easily.
Fungi in the Nails Our body is usually host to a large number of microorganisms, which include fungi and bacteria. Fungi can live and feed on the dead tissues of hair, nails and skin without causing any complications to their host.
A nail fungus infection occurs when the fungus multiplies disorderly and infects one or several nails. It usually starts with a yellowish or brownish tip of the nail. Nail fungus affects the toenails more than the fingernails. The fungus literally eats the skin and nails themselves and continues to grow and spread to other nails that it may attack for food. The nails may look “different”, start to get thicker, uglier and can cause some discomfort or even pain that can hinder daily activities.
Nail fungus is a much more common disease than is thought, affecting about 15% of the adult population. Nail fungi are responsible for more than half of all nail diseases. This problem is most common in people who have their nails frequently exposed to damp and warm environments, such as closed shoes or walking barefoot in wet places. Hands are more likely to be attacked by people who, for professional reasons, often have their hands raised in hot water. Nail mycosis is very difficult to treat and can reappear frequently.
What are the symptoms of nail fungus?
Everyone can be infected with a fungal infection. It is particularly common in people with diabetes or circulation problems. Children are rarely affected by nail fungus.
When your nails are infected you can see, feel or even smell the infection:
- The nails begin to appear darker, even brownish. Usually with small stains on the tips.
- The nails get thicker, scaly and more fragile.
- Sections of the nail may become stained and appear ‘dirty’.
- Nails can stink.
- They can get so stuck that they start to cause pain inside the shoes.
- In advanced states the discomfort caused by fungus in the nails can cause difficulties in walking, working and doing the routine activities of everyday life.
What causes nail fungus and how to eliminate it?
Nail fungi are microorganisms that infect the toenails or fingernails, called dermatophytes. Nail fungi are very common, they move under the nail because the nail offers food and good protection while they grow. Anything that damages the nail can make it easier for the fungus to enter, like:
- Any injury (such as a deeper cut or a blow that damages the nail).
- Tight shoes that damage the nails.
- Closed socks and shoes that do not allow breathing and do not absorb perspiration.
- Excess perspiration from the feet.
- Walk barefoot in damp and infected environments, such as swimming pools and changing rooms.
- People whose hands are always damp (such as washing dishes in restaurants or cleaning). Nail mycosis
That’s why it’s so hard to eliminate the fungus from your nails. Most of the time the nail fungus appears on the toenails, precisely because the socks and shoes keep the nails moist, in closed and dark environments. This is the perfect environment for nail fungi to develop.
The organism that causes nail mycosis can easily pass from one person to another because it can survive in places in the open air that are humid and where people normally walk barefoot, such as in changing rooms, public showers, the edge of swimming pools, saunas and other closed and stuffy environments. It can also easily go from an infected to a healthy nail.
People with diabetes and circulation problems are usually much more affected than others because diabetes weakens people and causes blood circulation difficulties. In these people when nail fungi are not readily treated they can develop into quite complicated cases.
How can nail fungi be prevented?
Here are some suggestions on how to prevent nail fungus or how to better eliminate it if you are already infected:
nail fungus treatment. Always keep your nails short and very clean.
. Never use the same scissors or nail clippers to trim infected and healthy nails. If you use a professional manicure take the utensils from your home.
. Use waterproof gloves for jobs that require dipping your hands in water. To protect your fingers use 100% cotton gloves for dry jobs.
. Wear 100% cotton socks. Change them whenever they get damp due to perspiration. Change them every day or even more than once a day.
. Wear comfortable shoes that make a good walk. Do not wear sharp shoes that squeeze your fingers.
. Avoid walking barefoot in damp public environments that may be infected.