Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a condition that is frequently seen in the elderly population, although it can occur at any age. Fungal infections arise from many different types of fungi, including mold and yeast, but the most popular nail fungus is called dermatophyte. Nail infections usually start as white or yellow patches that can be seen underneath the nail. Without treatment, the fungus can go on to infect the entire nail bed, causing the toenail to thicken and possibly detach.
Symptoms of a nail fungal infection include a foul odor, a thickened and crumbling nail bed, and a white, yellow or brown coloring of the nail. Risk factors involve immunosuppression, age, excessive sweating, history of nail infections, and frequently walking barefoot in communal areas. Also, people with diabetes are more prone to nail infections due to the lack of blood flow to the extremities. Both finger and toes can be affected, but nail fungal infections are more commonly seen on the toenails. Treatment options include over-the-counter alternatives, as well as prescription medications if there is no change with other treatment options.
To protect your feet from nail fungus, practice these prevention measures.
1. Keep hands and toes clean by washing them regularly.
2. Cut nails straight across, and avoid non-smooth edges.
3. Disinfect nail clippers and other nail tools after each use.
4. Wear socks with closed-toed shoes. Do not walk around wet areas, such as pools or saunas without shoes on.
5. If you choose to get your nails done professionally at a nail salon, ensure that the equipment and soaking basins are sterilized.
If you are experiencing nail fungi with no relief of accompanying symptoms, ask a doctor at home in Pakistan by calling Shifa4U helpline 042-111-748-748.