Posts Tagged ‘toenails’
The Places Toenail Fungus Like To Hide
Permanently ridding yourself of a nail fungus infection once it has taken hold can be a very difficult job. The fungus grows slowly but strongly and by the time you see the initial symptoms, a great deal of damage has already occurred. The fungus likes to work its way underneath the nail so that it uses the nail as a shield to keep it warm and moist, its favorite growing environment. It also makes it easier for the infection to reoccur after what seems like successful treatment because the fungus can lie dormant underneath the nail, then start growing again once the treatment ceases.
How Does a Nail Fungus Grow?
A fungus is a parasitic growth that prefers darkness to sunlight, as it has no chlorophyll. It does have roots and spreads via spores. Much like its cousin the mushroom, the body of the fungus looks like an umbrella. The spores spread and grow in dark, damp places. The most common cause of toenail fungus is wearing shoes as they hold in the moisture of sweat and keep the toenails in the dark. Also, most people wear the same pair of moisture absorbing shoes over and over again without allowing them to dry and air properly. Your body gives off both moisture and heat, providing the fungus with the perfect living environment.
Besides Shoes, Where Else Do Fungus Hide?
Exercise mats, such as yoga mats are ideal breeding grounds for the spores that cause nail fungus. Although the mat is made of rubber, which you would think is impenetrable, it soaks up the heat and moisture while you exercise. Then after your workout, you roll it up and stick it away until next time, providing the perfect growing environment for the fungus to attack your feet.
Flip-Flops that people wear into public showers are another good breeding ground for fungus, especially because most people don’t allow them to dry thoroughly before using them again. Ironically, the very item you use to protect your feet becomes the transmitter for the fungus you are trying to avoid.
Remedies To Treat Nail Fungus
There are many ointments and nail fungus solutions available over the counter or on the Internet to clear up nail fungus infections.
Most people try these, or home remedies before resorting to taking an oral antifungal medication to clear up the fungal nail infection as there are risky side effects associated with these treatments.
Mixing Tea Tree Oil and mineral oil as a toe soak is a home remedy solution. The mineral oil works to soften both the nail and surrounding skin, the Tea Tree Oil is a natural antifungal and antiseptic. Combined, these can be a powerful treatment for your nail fungus problem. This, and all nail fungus treatments, will take a while to show results and to cure the problem permanently, so you have to be patient and practice these remedies regularly so the full healing process can take place.
Common Nail Fungus Symptoms and Solutions
Suffering from some form of nail fungus is very common in humans. Because we find this embarrassing, we tend to hide the infected nail from view. This is especially true with toenails as they are easiest to hide inside a stuffy, warm set of shoes and socks.
Solving this problem can be both easier, and more difficult than you think. There are many products available to cure nail fungus. However some of them include some risk of further problems, some don’t and will never work, and some people just have the problem of poor health that leads to continued infection.
What Causes Nail Fungus?
Every day we encounter many different microbes, microorganisms and bacterial. This is a normal part of life. Some of these turn out to be nail fungus spores. Most of the time, these are harmless as they are easily washed away. But if they manage to get into or under your nails, then they become problematic.
When the spore gets itself into a warm, dark, moist place on your body (most commonly your nails because they have that extra benefit of being a good shield from the world) they are able to grow and multiply, causing that nasty look of yellowing and thickness everyone associates with a nail fungus infection.
As the invasion by the fungus develops, so do the symptoms of nail fungus infection. The nail begins to become disfigured and can even get to the point where it crumbles or flakes away. This is most common in toenails because they spend so much time wrapped in socks and shoes, which creates a great breeding environment for the fungus.
How Do I Treat a Nail Fungus Infection?
There are several natural remedies available, as well as many home remedies that are recommended before you try the more aggressive method of taking an oral antifungal medication, which carries the risk of damage to your liver. Here are some suggestions:
• Tea Tree Oil – This natural essential oil is available at most health food stores. Rub the oil into the nail and surrounding skin a few times a day. Its antifungal properties will eventually kill the fungus
• Good Nail Hygiene – Keep your nails short, right at the edge of the toe and clean out the underside with a nail file to ensure no dirt is able to permanently lodge there. Keep your feet clean and dry and air them as much as possible by not wearing closed shoes.
• Vinegar – Soak your toes in a solution of vinegar and water, then wash and dry them thoroughly. The vinegar changes the pH of the growing environment, making it uninhabitable for the fungus.
If you have tried these solutions, and/or some of the others out there and nothing seems to make the nail fungus infection go away permanently, your next step is to consult with your health care professional to find a more standard medical solution to the problem. Be aware that some of these prescription solutions do carry risks so be sure to discuss this with your doctor and to make your doctor aware of all medications your are currently taking. During your treatment, continue to practice good nail hygiene as this will encourage the healing process and help to prevent spreading or continued nail fungus infection of your toenails.
Many solutions are available to treat this problem. Search the internet for alternatives before you commit yourself to taking an oral antifungal medication, especially if a child is the infected patient. If you do your research it will pay off in the long run.
Living With A Nail Fungus Infection
Having a nail fungus infection does not single you out, in fact it makes you part of the 20% of the world population that is also afflicted with this disease. Although it is unsightly, it is possible to live with, and cure, if you’re willing to put in the effort it may take. If you’re reading this, you may already be affected with this rather common disease. Below is more information to help you.
Nail fungus is a microorganism that lodges and grows on and under the nail. It can occur on both the finger and toenails. In fact, it’s really not a very discriminating fungus as it will happily grow anywhere it can. The biggest problem with nail fungus is not that it can do much harm, but that it takes so long for an infected person to notice the discoloration in their nail, and usually even longer for them to do anything about it. By then, the fungus has worked its way underneath the nail sheath and into the nail bed where it is much harder to get at. The fungus’s goal is to find a warm, wet place to survive. The infected person’s goal is to get rid of the fungus and get their healthy nail back! The faster you notice and start treating a fungal nail infection, the more likely you are to cure yourself of it.
Avoid Becoming Infected in the First Place
The simplest solution to a nail fungus infection is not to get it to begin with. There are lots of easy precautions you can take to avoid this disease.
- Think carefully about your regular day and where you might come into contact with these fungi. They tend to live in wet environments, like public bathrooms, locker rooms, public pools, etc. When you use these areas, make certain to wash your hands with an antibacterial soap. If you need to walk in these areas with exposed feet (for instance, to take a shower or get to the pool) wear a protective covering, like flip flops, to avoid contact with the fungus.
- Don’t wear wet clothes for a long period of time. If you get soaked in the rain, try to dry off and change as soon as possible. If you’ve been swimming, change out of your suit and into dry clothes before leaving the pool. If you sweat a great deal while working out, shower, dry thoroughly and change into clean clothes before leaving the gym. This rule is especially true to avoid toenail fungus infection as many people don’t change their socks and shoes after exercise and that is an ideal breeding ground for nail fungus.
- Stay healthy. Eat foods that will help you fight fungal infection, like yogurt and garlic. Take supplements of beta carotene, and vitamins B, C, D, and E. Use neem tree oil, tea tree oil, red thyme oil, and lemon oil on your skin to control a fungal infection if you contract one. Don’t eat yeast filled products, like brewer’s yeast or beer, if you have a nail fungus infection.