Fungal infections are caused by microscopic organisms. The most common forms are found in the skin, hair and nails or in the mucous membranes, like in the mouth or vagina. Most fungal infections are transmitted to humans through contact with infectious substances. They can be transmitted from the ground, from plants, or from the skin flakes of humans or animals. Other possible sources of the infection may be the contact with contaminated clothing and pools. Risk factors include obesity, diabetes, excessive use of detergents and prolonged treatment with antibiotics or steroids. If not treated, a fungal disease can persist for a long time and it may spread to other parts of the body. Some fungal diseases can be particularly dangerous for people with reduced immunization (diabetics, people that take steroids, people treated with cancer drugs or suffering from AIDS).
How to recognize nail fungus?
At first, the disease appears as a yellowish stain which may over time become light green, and may then turn dark green, gray and blue. If the nail is becoming green, the condition is rather serious, because the infection is deaf and the nail may be ready to fall off. It's therefore essential to recognize and treat the fungus immediately:
- All topical products, such as creams are applicable not only to the infected area, but also to the surrounding area.
- Do not scratch or touch the infected area, so as to prevent the spread of infection.
- Wash with soap preferably acidic and avoid using sponges.
- Always dry well after each wash: moisture benefits the infection.
- Do not walk barefoot in the pool or in the locker room.
- Avoid prolonged contact of hands and feet with water and detergents and wear protective gloves for the household chores that require frequent and prolonged contact with water.
- Be careful not to cut or tear the skin around the nails, because you will allow the germs to penetrate the skin.
Home remedies for nail and toenail fungus:
Home remedies can be used as a complementary therapy, but keep in mind that their efficiency is questionable. One of the home remedies you can use to treat this condition is vinegar. There is no scientific evidence that soaking the nails in vinegar can be used as a treatment, but research has shown that vinegar may be able to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. Experts suggest soaking your toenails for 20 minutes in a mixture of one part vinegar and two parts warm water. After that you should dry your feet thoroughly. This foot bath can be done once per day, but if your skin gets irritated you may repeat it only two or three times a week or increase the amount of water in the mixture.