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Nail Fungi - Save Your Nails From Fungus

May 10, 2008
If you complain of your nails being brittle, thick, faint, dry, painful, ugly and smelly either on your foot or your hand, you are probably suffering from onychomycosis (on-i-ko-mi-KO-sis) or tinea unguium. Read: NAIL FUNGI - the stingy monsters that migrated into your nails.

Nail Fungi Facts:

Nail fungi are the tiny, irritating organisms that breed under the nails while eating up the keratin substance. These fungi, which belong to the dermatophyte family, producer of athlete's foot, ringworm, psoriasis and jock itch, utilize our nails as protective shield, making the infection hardly treatable. Some of the sources of these fungi are yeasts and molds. They thrive in damp areas and can penetrate the nails through the small gap between the nails and your skin.

About 50 percent of all nail abnormalities fall under onychomycosis. Its effect has FIVE classifications:

1. Total dystrophic onychomycosis - the nail plate is completely ruined

2. White superficial onychomycosis - the fungus forms bright tints called "white islands" on the outer layers of the nail bed

3. Distal subungual onychomycosis - the fungus directly affects the nailbed

4. Proximal subungual onychomycosis - the fungus seeps through the proximal nail fold

5. Candidal onychomycosis - is caused by the bacterium named candida when the nails are overexposed in water)

Nail fungi usually infects the toenails more than the fingernails as they are frequently enclosed inside your shoes. Moreover, diabetic people are more susceptible to nail fungal infection. It can even get worse for them, including persons with leukemia if not given medical attention accordingly due to weakened immune system and imbalance in blood sugar level.

Nail Fungi Infects Men More Than Women?

Some researches state that resistance to fungi may be genetic and that nail fungus infects men more than women. However, without proper precautions, anybody can be infected. Nail fungi starts with slight swelling on the toes with mild irritation. Under the nails, a white or yellowish spot can be found. An unsightly discoloration, described as yellowish-brown or white as pus follows. The nails become thick and brittle and the cuticles begin to pop. Pain in the affected areas accompanies the infection.

Things can get worse and unpleasant as the infection develops. It may harm your skin precisely, so to avoid further damage, seek medical assistance immediately. Specialists recommend some over-the-counter topical treatments like Vicks VapoRub, Lamisil, Tinactin, Penlac, and Dermisil among others.

Nail Fungi Home Remedies and Prevention:

Home remedies can be helpful too. Try vinegar therapy. This requires you to soak the infected part in vinegar two times daily for a about 20 minutes until the contaminated area heals. According to experts, vinegar's acidic property kills the bacteria.

Still, it is advisable to consult a doctor during the early stages of infection. To prevent nail fungi, proper hygiene is always the best defense. Drive away these microscopic critters by frequently washing your hands and feet, dry it well and use foot powder as needed to keep from wetness. As nail fungi is contagious, beware of the instruments you use on your nails. If you are the one infected, take responsibility and extra care not to pass it on.
About the Author
Wong Darren is an online medical researcher and webmaster of Toenail Fungus Treatment. Related articles: The Statistics on Nail Fungus Infection and 9 Tips to Prevent Nail Fungus. http://www.toe-nails-fungus.com
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