A fungal nail infection is an unsightly condition affecting toe and fingernails. The cause is fungus growing underneath the nail causing discolouration and damage. It is not a serious condition for most people but is a concern for those with diabetes. The first sign of infection is discolouration at the edges of the nail which progresses to the centre of the nail.
You can’t catch a fungal nail infection in the same way as catching a cold although it does spread in showers and with damp towels. It is best to treat the infection as soon as you notice it for the quickest results. A well established infection takes months to treat with antifungal products.
The most effective treatment is a special lacquer containing antifungal treatment. It treats the infection and protects the medication from washing away due to everyday activities. You know the infection is going due to a healthy nail growth at the base of the nail.
A fungal nail infection usually starts at the edge of the nails causing them to thicken and become yellow in colour. As the infection progresses it spreads to the centre of the nail causing underneath the nail to become thicker. Nails eventually get darker, thicker and more fragile eventually breaking and falling apart. There is also a slight odour present which is worse in hot weather.
Nail polish doesn’t really disguise the changes in the nails and won’t cure the infection. The best course of treatment is Loceryl which is a lacquer containing antifungal treatment. It is particularly effective because it is resilient to hand washing and sweaty shoes. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should seek advice if they wish to treat their nails in this way. People with diabetes need to be particularly vigilant if they have a fungal nail infection because damage to their toes causes complications.
You treat your nails until the infection has completely gone. This takes months of patient application and reapplication of treatment. Making a special effort to keep your hands or feet dry helps the healing process. Once the infection clears up a healthy nail will start to grow in the nail bed. The nail affected by the infection will eventually grow out leaving a clear healthy nail.
Treatment does not vaccinate against getting another infection so it is important to keep an eye on your nails to prevent an infection from recurring.