Nail Fungus – Key Basics

February 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Nail Fungus

Nail fungus infection is also called Onychomycosis or Tinea unguium. It starts as a small whitish yellowish spot under the nail tip and spreads across the nail in a few days time.

A nail fungus infected nail will display a few characteristic symptoms. The affected nail(s) has a raw edge and surface, gets discoloured and lustreless, turning thick yet fragile, smelly and painful. In severe cases, termed as Onycholysis, the nail may also come ripping off the nail bed.

The fungi causing nail fungus infection are found to proliferate in damp and warm places like the shoes, swimming pools, locker rooms, showers, garden, gyms, spa, etc. They belong to the dermatophyte family. Candida yeast and mould too can cause this infection. More often the former is a toe nail fungus and the latter the finger nail fungus. These micro organisms feed on the keratin present on the nail surface.

A person’s nails need to be continually exposed to these micro organisms to get nail fungus infection. The toe nails are more susceptible to get the infection than finger nails. This is because the toes are mostly confined in compact shoes without much blood circulation. The immune system thus fails to check the infection on its onset.

Although nail fungus can affect anyone, those suffering ailments like diabetes, poor blood circulation or weak immune system are more susceptible to this infection.

Working in damp surroundings, working in non-airy sweaty places, walking in shoes which are neither airy nor lined with sweat absorption lining and walking barefoot on damp floors can cause nail fungus to grow. Not drying yourself dry after a bath makes you equally susceptible to this infection.

If you visited the doctor with this problem, the doctor will conduct a physical examination of the nail first. Then he will have a sample of the infected nail scraped off from under the nail. This sample will be viewed under the microscope to check for signs of nail fungus infection. The sample will also be sent for laboratory culture to identify the micro organism causing the infection. The idea here is to establish if it is nail fungus infection or some other similar affliction.

There is no need for anyone to live with nail fungus. There are treatments, remedies and cures to take care of this horrible condition – and you will not have to hide your nails all the time due to your nail fungus.