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Fingernail Fungus Treatment and Diagnosis: What You Need To Know

Jul 3, 2008
A lot of people want to know the most effective fingernail fungus treatment. It only comes to show how common the condition is. In the United States alone, about 35 million Americans are affected with fungal infection of the nails. Because of this great number, more people want to know a great solution to nail fungus.

Its Cause - Nail fungus is caused by a Tinea Unguium or Onychomycosis infection. The fungus lives underneath the nail and feeds on the keratin which makes up the hard surface of the nails. It can be contagious, as it can spread to other fingernails and even to other parts of your body such as the toenails.

If there's any good thing about it, it is that fingernail fungus can be treated. However, the treatment usually varies with the type and severity of the infection. For you to make the most out of the treatment, it is important that you have it diagnosed first by a professional.

Nail Fungus Diagnosis

Make sure you have your doctor examine your nails. The initial diagnosis is often made by conducting a physical examination of the infected nail. Some visible symptoms include discoloration, thickening, crumbling, and streaking among others.

All you have to do is to answer your doctor's questions honestly. Some risks of fingernail fungus include participating in sports, overusing fingernail polish and neglecting proper hand hygiene. Then, you will also be asked about your medical history, which includes any experience with illnesses that may decrease your resistance to infection, weaken your immune system, and interfere with proper blood flow. Such ailments include diabetes, HIV, and poor circulation among others.

Undergoing Tests - The doctor will then perform some tests such as clipping off a small piece of your nail that will be sent to labs to verify if you have nail fungus. The tests use PAS or Periodic Acid-Shiff which turns any fungi red. Performing this test will help determine the precise type of fungi present so that it can be properly and effectively treated. If the tests show that you indeed have fingernail fungus, then the doctor will give you a list of possible treatments.

Fingernail fungus treatment

Prescription Medication - Among these treatments is oral anti-fungal medication. These prescription medications combat fungal infections. However, they are strong oral medications that must be always taken for months in order to be effective. And, they could also have potential harmful side effects that can affect other body organs. Side effects include headaches, upset stomach, liver damage, and even death.

Anti-Fungal Creams - Anti-fungal creams and lotions are also available. These are much safer but they are generally ineffective. This is because the creams do not actually penetrate the nail bed in order to kill the fungus at its source.

The Best Alternative - The best choice would be to go for a topical anti-fungal solution. It is effective and safe at the same time. It uses only natural ingredients like essential oils from tea tree, almond, lavender and lemongrass that contain antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties that will help fight the infection and at the same time keep your fingers smooth and soft to the touch. Also, it does not leave any medicinal smell on your hands.
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