Toenail fungi infections occur when a species of fungi finds its way into your nail. This could happen if you have cuts on the skin. It could also happen if the fungus gets into your system through the narrow space between the nail and the skin, whose name is the nail bed. For healthy people, toenail fungi may not be much of a health concern beyond disfiguring your nail bed and making it look ugly. However, for those with a weak immune system, it could cause a ripple effect in their systems. You can get this type of infection from walking barefoot in public bathrooms or swimming tools. Infections can also spread through the sharing of personal items like nail clippers. There are different ways of handling this condition. Below is a look at some.
- Medicated nail cream
You can apply these creams as long as your doctor has prescribed them. Before application, thoroughly clean the infected area and thin the nails to allow penetration. There are nail thinners available in drug stores for which you do not need a prescription. After thinning the affected toenail, soak it for a while and then apply the cream. You can repeat the process over a time span until the infection clears.
- Oral antifungal remedies
The market provides a range of drugs that you should take as prescription. Generally, you can take these drugs as a dosage for between two and three months. Keep in touch with your doctor and have him run regular checks to see the effect the prescriptions are having on your system. Note that you will not see the results immediately, as you have to wait for a new coat of nails to grow, which could take up to between three to four months. Doctors point out that these drugs are less effective among the elderly, so if you belong to this age group, you can try the other remedies. Do not take any of these drugs without talking to your doctor, as they could cause harmful side effects, depending on the general condition of your health.
- Medicated toenail polish
This polish works by application to the affected nail as well as the surrounding skin area. You have to do this once every day for a week. At the end of this period, scrub off the accumulated polish and clean the nail with alcohol. You need to carry this procedure out consistently for as long as the infection takes to clear.
Treatment options for advanced infections
- Nail removal
Your infection may have already advanced to a level which conventional medication cannot heal. At this point, your doctor may suggest that you undergo a procedure that effectively gets rid of the whole nail. However, this is not common, as most infections never get to such a point. After removing the nail, specialists will treat your nail bed to ensure that the infection clears completely. A new nail will grow, but you will need to be patient as it might take between 9 months and a year to do so.
These treatments could be stand-alone. Alternatively, doctors may use them alongside other medications. You need to check their availability as light based and laser therapies are not easy and therefore need highly specialized professionals. The procedures are also expensive, so make a choice with consideration to your financial position at that point. There are categories of treatments that your insurance cover will not be able to finance, and most of these therapies fall under the categories. Confirm with your medical insurance provider to know the position before making a decision.
Toenail fungi can cause discomfort, pain and a whole lot of embarrassment. Once you observe symptoms, for example the yellowing of toenails, make an appointment with your doctor so that you can both analyze the situation as well as explore possible remedies depending on your state of health. Always remember to keep a high level of cleanliness around your toenails. Take precautions in relation to handling of towels and nail clippers. Do not let other people use these items, and do not use their personal items as well. There are various toenail fungus treatment options available, and the specific solution for you will depend on the level of infection and your personal health.