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How Did I Get a Nail Fungus Infection?

Nail Fungus

How Did I Get Nail Fungus

Nail fungus infections are common ailments that primarily affect adults and the elderly. Some people are more likely to experience them than others due to advancing age, having a weakened immune system or even heredity. The fungi that causes a nail fungus infection thrives in warm, damp environments. As a result, places like locker rooms and public showers are ideal breeding grounds for them. These places are very common sources of infections. It is also possible to experience an infection after getting a manicure or pedicure from a salon where the tools are not sanitized between customers or from allowing the feet to remain wet for extended periods of time, for example, wearing sweaty socks all day after working out.

Symptoms of Nail Fungus Infection

If you think you might have a nail fungus infection, there are a few common symptoms to look for. The nail almost always changes in appearance. It often starts to take on a yellowish color and becomes thick or deformed. In some cases, the nail may split or start to lift away from the skin beneath. It may also become brittle or lose its luster and shine.

Diagnosis of Nail Fungus Infection

A doctor can determine that you probably have a fungal infection just by looking at your nails. However, he or she will likely want to determine the exact type of fungi that is causing the infection in order to prescribe the best course of treatment. The diagnosis may be confirmed and the type of fungi may be identified by scraping the nail and either examining the scrapings under a microscope or sending them away to a lab for further analysis.

Treatments for Nail Fungus

Over-the-counter topical creams are widely available for treating fungus, but they tend to be pretty ineffective. Prescription creams which offer higher dosages of medication are slightly better, but they still tend to work very slowly, and the possibility of experiencing another infection is very high. In recent years, laser therapy has become a popular method when it comes to killing the fungi that causes infection. Surgery is sometimes needed to remove a damaged nail, but doing so will not kill the fungus. Instead, it is still necessary to undergo some other type of treatment as well. In most cases, the results are typically the best when surgery is combined with an effective method of eliminating the fungus.

Prognosis

Though nail fungus can be difficult to treat, it usually does not lead to serious complications. If the nail becomes especially thick or splits, you may experience pain and discomfort. In time, healthy nail typically grows in to replace in infected nail. However, this can be a very slow process, so most people choose to seek treatment instead of waiting. Despite treatment, it is very common for nail fungus infections to reoccur, and they can cause permanent damage to the nails.

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