How to stop fungal nail infections once and for all
Our feet rarely see as much attention as the rest of our bodies. For the vast majority of us, aside from a quick wash and dry each day, those distant extremities go largely unnoticed – until, of course, they become a source of discomfort or embarrassment.
Fungal nail infections are incredibly common. Some sources suggest that as much as 12% of the population could be suffering from the painful and discomfiting side effects of nail fungus – and while, for some, a single course of treatment may be enough to eradicate the issue completely, for others, it can begin to feel like a near-permanent affliction.
Fortunately, there are ways of ensuring that your fungal nail infections stop for good – and there are some excellent treatments available, even for the most stubborn cases.
Revisit the Cause
While it will not help to get rid of the initial infection once it has taken hold, it remains incredibly important that you understand how you might have contracted the infection in the first place in order to prevent it from returning, and wreaking more havoc on an already damage nail – or, alternatively, spreading to other nails.
Unfortunately, the fungi responsible for this condition are incredibly prevalent, and, as a result, there are many possible causes behind an infection.
Some of the most common causes include walking barefoot in moist, damp environments such as swimming pool and gym changing rooms, sharing towels with others, or choosing a pedicurist who does not thoroughly sterilise their equipment between clients. Similarly, restricting your feet within tight, sweaty, or unbreathable footwear creates the perfect environment in which fungi can thrive; this is why fungal infections can be common among athletes.
Poor circulation can also render you more vulnerable to an infection – without a healthy supply of blood flowing to your toes, there is less opportunity for the body to fight off the fungus on its own, which creates the perfect opportunity for it to take hold and spread to other toes. Poor circulation may be indicative of another, underlying condition, and should be seen to by your general practitioner.
While anyone can be affected by a nail fungus, some of us are simply more susceptible to stubborn or recurrent infections than others. As a result, while a short-term treatment for a fungal nail infection can prove effective for some people – for those who are grappling with a more chronic case, it will only be able to provide short term improvement before the fungus begins to spread once again.
A topical solution, such as an antifungal nail paint or a fungal infection cream, can offer an effective solution for some patients. They typically entail fewer possible side effects, but generally only provide a lasting solution when the infection is minor, and limited to just the one toenail.
For those who are experiencing persistent or recurrent infections, however, a more permanent solution, such as fungal nail tablets, is required. Terbinafine (also sold under the brand name Lamisil) offers a much more aggressive treatment against the fungal infection.
This treatment is typically taken over the course of twelve weeks. In that time, the fungus causing the infection will be killed off, and the damaged nail will grow out to be replaced by a new, healthy nail.
Take Preventative Measures During, and After, Treatment
In being aware of the potential causes for your infection, it is much easier for you to take preventative steps to ensure that, with the help of fungal nail tablets, your body stands the strongest chance of avoiding yet another instance once and for all.
Consider discarding any footwear you have been using while the infection was present, and replacing items such as socks, bathmats and towels that may still harbour the fungus. Give any carpets or rugs in your home a deep clean during treatment, and consider wearing a pair of open-toed house shoes – such as flipflops – until the course of treatment is complete.
Similarly, bedding should be washed at a high temperature in order to ensure that the fungus is eradicated from your laundry, and the machine itself.
Keep your feet protected in public spaces, such as changing rooms, and avoid visiting any nail salons that do not adhere to strict hygiene practices.
Living with a fungal nail infection can be far more difficult than others imagine. Not only can it cause pain and tenderness in the affected toe, but the appearance and odour of an infected toenail can cause significant emotional discomfort or sufferers.
If you have been struggling to see the end of an infection, then there is no need to resign yourself to years of discomfort; there are excellent treatments available and, provided you take the necessary steps to avoid further infection, a definitive end in sight.