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Nail Fungus - the Causes, Prevention and Useful Facts

Aug 20, 2008
Our respective surroundings may be good to live in but the body is never safe from various diseases living round us. There are many different kinds of bacteria, good and bad that make use of our body as good host for breeding. Take tinea unguium for example, the name itself already sounds dreadful, right? Let us find out more about them.

Nail Fungus: An Overview

Nail fungus is an infection in the nails. When the bacteria called dermatophyte or tinea unguium penetrates the nails, then contamination occurs. These bacteria spawn from yeasts and molds that thrive in damp environments. They grow in places where there is very low supply of oxygen, or anaerobic in nature.

Also called onychomycosis, dermatophyte is also the cause of other common skin disorders such as ringworm, jock itch, psoriasis, and athlete's foot. When one is infected with onychomycosis on either finger or toenails, he experiences reddening and swelling, irritation and itching, and unpleasant odor around the infected area. The nails thicken and become frail until it totally detaches from the nail bed when the infection reaches the highest degree. There are various classifications that characterize onychomycosis:

- Distal Subungual Onychomycosis (infection of the nailbed);
- White Superficial Onychomycosis (formation of "white islands" on the outer layers of the nail bed);
- Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis (infection of the proximal nail fold);
- Candidal Onychomycosis (invasion of bacterium candida);
- Total Dystrophic Onychomycosis (destruction of nail plate).

Nail Fungus Causes & Prevention

The key factor that encourages nail fungal infection is improper hygiene. You can avoid acquiring the disease by keeping a clean body and surrounding. Let us look into a detailed list of causes and measures to evade onychomycosis.

- Careless use of public properties or walking around barefoot in open pools, communal washrooms, and gyms give the fungus easy access to your nails. Be reminded that dermatophytes are anaerobic.

- Lack of hygiene. The instruments you use on your nails aren't 100 per cent safe unless they are sanitized. Check with your professional manicurist or pedicurist if they are sterilized.

- Heavy perspiration. You feet has greater share of risk of acquiring nail fungal infection as they are frequently confined inside your shoes and tight socks. To keep them fungi-free, always give your feet enough rest before washing them, dry them well, and apply foot powder. Choose the right socks to wear, avoid pure cotton but go for those with spandex.

- If your hands are already infected, seek advice from a specialist. Otherwise, apply topical treatments available over the counter. Some of the most prescribed brands are Lamisil, Tinactin, Penlac, Dermisil, lacquer, or simply put Vicks VapoRub on the infected part.

Generally, it takes three or more months of therapy before the bacteria disappear and a new nail to grow. This, however, does not make you safer as the infection may recur if not taken care of.

Some Useful Facts

Nail fungal infection can hit anyone but among the most susceptible victims are adults ages 60 and above or persons with diabetes or leukemia because of having weak immune system and problems over blood circulation. The males have larger percentage of infection than females and children are the less likely prey. These tiny microorganisms depend on warm and damp environment, which make your toe nails an appropriate breeding ground.
About the Author
For more information, kindly visit Toenail Fungus Treatment. Visit site for related topics: " The Statistics on Nail Fungus Infection" and "9 Tips to Prevent Nail Fungus". http://www.toe-nails-fungus.com
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