Fungal Nail Infections - What you need to Know

 

Fungal nail infections are a common problem that can affect any nail, but most commonly the ones on the feet. The infection is caused by different types of fungi, such as candida – the fungus that causes thrush, but it is most often caused by the same type that also causes athlete’s foot, called dermatophyte fungi. Fungal nail infections occur when spores of a fungus make their way between your toenail and the skin underneath (the nail-bed), and feed off of the skin or the keratin in the nail.  In case you acquire a fungal nail infection you might notice that your nails seem thicker, or that they change colour slightly, or that they even start to separate from the nail bed.

Spotting a Fungal Nail Infection

There are some obvious signs of fungal nail infection to look out for. You might notice:

  1. Your nails start to look dull, and lose their natural shine.
  2. There is discolouration around the edge of the nail.
  3. White or yellowish spots in the middle of the nail.
  4. A thickening of the nail, or it becoming brittle.
  5. The nail crumbling and splitting, and even separating from the skin.
  6. Discomfort while wearing shoes, walking, or standing for time.

It’s important to act quickly if you notice any of these symptoms.

How to treat a Fungal Nail Infection

To treat an infection, an antifungal may be required, but for mild cases it can be treated with a specialty fungal nail treatment (such as Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment).

Scholl Fungal nail treatment consist in: Filing the nail once a week and applying the liquid once a day, for the first four weeks, then continue to apply the liquid once a week for up to 9 months, or until the nail returns to normal. The files can only be used once and should be disposed of after one use to avoid reinfection.


How to Reduce the Risk of a Fungal Nail Infection

Although it might be impossible to avoid it completely, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk, such as avoiding humid or damp conditions, for instance in your shoes. In areas where people with an infection may have been – such as communal showers, or swimming pools – wear foot protection such as flip-flops.

Additionally, it’s important to take note of any damage to the nail, as this can offer opportunity for the fungus to get into and under the nail, where it feeds off of the keratin in the nails. It is also recommended that you consider replacing old footwear, as they could be contaminated with fungal spores.

Moreover, if you notice any symptoms of athlete’s foot, then treat this appropriately as soon as you can, as this fungus can easily spread to your nails, becoming a fungal nail infection.