Have you ever had ragged, thickened, and crumbly nails? Or seen the white-ish and slightly painful nails of anyone you know?
It might be nail fungus or onychomycosis and is usually caused by a fungus attack.
So to cope with nail fungus, it is important to know a few key points, like how it is diagnosed, its treatment, etc.
So without further ado, here we have;
Tips for coping with nail fungus.
If you see or observe anything other than normal with your nails, or if you feel slight pain or a foul odor coming from your nails, go to your doctor as soon as possible.
The doctor will examine your nails, take some clippings of your nail, or scrape debris from under the nail and will then send the sample to a lab to identify the fungus. Once the fungus is identified, the doctor can further prescribe medicine to treat the infection.
Lab testing is also done to determine if it is a fungal infection or not since other conditions can mimic a fungal infection of the nails like psoriasis. Knowing the cause of the infection is one of the most important steps in treating the infection.
Once the fungus has been identified, it is now time for fungal nail treatment.
Treating fungal infections can be tricky and healing depends on the level of infection it has done to the nail. Doctors usually prescribe medicines like self-care strategies – if the condition isn’t that severe- or they may prescribe ointments etc.
Some medications that doctors recommend are:
Oral antifungal drugs
As the name suggests, these drugs are given to counter the fungus causing the infection. These drugs are the first choices of many doctors to treat nail fungus because they can clear the infection much more quickly than topical drugs. They also help promote the growth of new infection-free nails as they help replace the infected parts.
But sometimes, these drugs are not prescribed, mainly because their side effects range from skin rash to liver damage. While using these drugs, you are recommended to have an occasional blood test done to check how your body reacts to these drugs. If you are a patient with liver disease or congestive heart failure, doctors will not recommend these medicines.
Medicated nail polish
Your doctor can also prescribe you an antifungal nail polish – Penlac is common nail polish for this ailment – and you can use this treatment, paint it around and on the infected nail and the surrounding skin once a day.
Let a week pass, wipe off the nail polish layers, clean the entire area with alcohol, and begin a fresh application.
The only drawback of this is that it takes a long time – almost a year – to use this nail polish to see any results.
Medicated nail cream
Another treatment some doctors prescribe is an antifungal medicated nail cream which you are required to rub into your infected nails after soaking them.
You need to remember that these creams work much better if you thin the nails first. If you naturally have thin nails, then it is not a problem, and if you don’t, your doctor may suggest thinning the nail’s surface with a file or other tool. This is because these medicated nail creams work best with thin nails as this helps get the medicine through the hard nail surface and into the underlying fungus to treat it.
Surgery may be the only option.
If the situation is dire, if you cannot handle the pain or if the pain and discomfort become severe and extreme, your doctor may recommend you get the nail surgically removed.
Some doctors might suggest temporary removal of the nail so that you are free to apply the antifungal drug directly to the source of fungal infection.
So now that you have a bit of knowledge about nail fungus and how to deal with it, it is now up to you what you do if you ever –unfortunately- have an encounter with nail fungus. Nail fungus should be treated as soon as possible so that the amount of discomfort and pain is as less as possible and there is minimal damage done to the nail.